How to Prevent Autonomic Dysreflexia

Autonomic dysreflexia is a condition that can affect individuals with spinal cord injuries above the level of T6.

Spotting the signs of something being wrong can be tough when you have a SCI and conditions such as AD are involved. Click to learn more.

 Autonomic dysreflexia causes sudden, severe changes in blood pressure that can cause headaches, blurred vision, sweating and seizures, which can all be dangerous and life-threatening.

In this article, we take a look at how to prevent autonomic dysreflexia, and what you can do if you or a loved one is affected by the condition.

Understanding the Causes of Autonomic Dysreflexia

Autonomic dysreflexia occurs when the autonomic nervous system, which controls autonomic functions such as blood pressure and heart rate, is affected. This occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals from the body, such as from a full bladder or infected pressure sore.

The nervous system responds to these conflicting signals by triggering an uncomfortable increase in blood pressure, an incredibly dangerous outcome if not treated quickly and efficiently.

Preventing Autonomic Dysreflexia

To prevent autonomic dysreflexia, the most important steps to take are to identify and address the underlying causes. Here are a few ways to do so:

Maintain good bladder and bowel management

  • Regularly empty your bladder and bowel to prevent overfilling and potential blockages.
  • Use a regularly scheduled bowel program, including a high-fibre diet, stool softeners, and enemas if needed.
  • Avoid constipation, which can cause distress in the rectum and trigger an episode.

Monitor and manage pressure sores

  • Avoid prolonged pressure on bony prominences, such as the tailbone and heels.
  • Reposition frequently and use specialised equipment, such as pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions, to reduce pressure.
  • Check your skin regularly for signs of pressure sores, and seek medical attention if you develop any sores.

Avoid triggers

Certain activities and stimuli, such as tight clothing or sudden changes in position, can trigger an episode of autonomic dysreflexia.

Be aware of what triggers your symptoms and avoid these triggers whenever possible.

Seek prompt medical attention

If you experience symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia, seek medical attention immediately.

Keep a record of your symptoms, including the time and duration of each episode, and share this information with your healthcare provider.

Moving forward

Autonomic dysreflexia is a potentially serious condition that can affect individuals with spinal cord injuries. By understanding the causes and taking steps to prevent them, you can reduce your risk and live a healthy, active life. If you experience symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia, seek prompt medical attention to ensure prompt and effective treatment.

It is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive care plan that addresses your individual needs and helps you to prevent and manage autonomic dysreflexia.

At Aspire Law, we can help you get the compensation amount you desire and deserve, to ensure you live your life in the best way possible. Get in touch with us today.