Blood Pressure - Autonomic Dysreflexia

More is Possible, 25.03.2024

According to Heidelberg University Hospital, autonomic dysreflexia occurs when the spinal cord is injured above the sixth or seventh thoracic vertebra. This can be triggered by bladder distension or stretching of the stomach, intestines, or gallbladder, leading to a dangerous increase in blood pressure.

  • Symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia may include severe headaches, slowing of the heartbeat, cold and sweaty skin above the injury, goosebumps, or a general feeling of concern. 
  • The underlying cause lies in damaged nerve fibers that can no longer properly control internal bodily functions due to lack of sensation below the injury. This results in an increased release of hormones that constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
  • Treatment of autonomic dysreflexia is a medical emergency! Immediate measures focus on eliminating the triggering stimuli, including repositioning the body, elevating the head, and administering blood pressure-lowering medications to alleviate symptoms.

Heidelberg University Hospital recommends interdisciplinary care to provide optimal treatment and prevent life-threatening complications.

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