There are many different nerve disorders that diabetic patients are at risk for and autonomic neuropathy is one of them. This disorder actually has an effect on several different functions of the body which include your digestive system, your heart rate, your blood pressure and even the amount you perspire. The nerve damage that this causes actually leads to disruption of signals that go from the brain and certain parts of the autonomic nervous system. These include the blood vessels, the heart and the sweat glands. When there is damage to this part of the system it can be the cause of functions not working correctly or at all.
Autonomic neuropathy can be caused from various medical conditions and diseases. It is even possible that it is brought on by certain medications that a patient may be taking. There is treatment, but the type and the plan that the patient is placed on will greatly depend upon the damage that has already been done, the reason that the patient has this disorder and the nerves that have been damaged. Once a diagnosis is made the doctor will be able to set you up on a treatment plan right away.
There are varying signs and symptoms of the disorder and the nerves which are damaged can make a difference to the symptoms that you may have. These can include trouble urinating, dizziness and even fainting, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness or trouble reaching orgasm, not being able to digest food, vision problems such as not being able to adjust easily from light to darkness and even trouble with exercising. Each symptom can also have multiple conditions and symptoms too. For example, when having issues digesting food it can also cause you to lose your appetite, give you constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, trouble swallowing food and even heartburn.
If you start to experience one or more of these symptoms it is important to see your doctor and get checked. It is important to be very specific about the symptoms you are experiencing so that the doctor can make a proper diagnosis of nerve damage. Diabetic patients should be tested for autonomic neuropathy every few years. Of course if you suspect anything in between visits you should not wait for your next check-up for an exam. Schedule a visit as quickly as possible.
There are many factors that can increase your risk of autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes is one of them. It is especially a risk when you do not manage the disease well and let your blood sugar levels get out of control. Also, the length of time that you have had diabetes also puts you at a higher risk level. Being overweight and having high cholesterol are also factors that put you at an increased risk for the disorder as well. There are different tests that can be done such as a breathing test, tilt-table test and gastrointestinal tests to make certain of the diagnosis. Your symptoms will be treated as needed and you will probably need to modify your diet to minimize some of them. Of course taking care of your health and managing your diabetes can go a long way in prevention and treatment.