High Blood Pressure and the Impact on Spinal Cord Injuries
Unfortunately, living with a spinal cord injury comes with many secondary conditions, such as muscle spasms, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, chronic pain, and more. Some secondary conditions that affect blood pressure can trigger autonomic dysreflexia (AD) and lead to life-threatening consequences. Here's why spinal cord injury patients should closely monitor their blood pressure numbers.
What is Autonomic Dysreflexia?
Autonomic dysreflexia is a severe life-threatening risk for someone who has a spinal cord injury and can be triggered by extremely high blood pressure. The good news is that it's preventable and treatable for most people. Read on to learn the causes of AD and how to identify the symptoms.
What Causes Autonomic Dysreflexia?
AD is caused by irritation below the level of injury and may be triggered by the following:
- Bladder issues - urinary tract infections, bladder wall irritation, blocked catheter, overfilled urine collection bag.
- Bowel issues - distended bowel, irritated bowel, constipation, hemorrhoids.
- Skin infections - cuts, bruises, abrasions, pressure sores.
Sexual activity, bone fractures, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts and gastric ulcers may also trigger autonomic dysreflexia.
Symptoms of Autonomic Dysreflexia
Knowing the symptoms to watch out for can ensure that medical attention is received promptly to manage AD. Some of the warning signs may include:
- Extremely high blood pressure.
- Severe headaches.
- Flushed face.
- Sweating (above the level of injury).
- Goose flesh/bumps (below the level of injury).
- Stuffy nose.
- Slow pulse (less than 60 beats per minute).
When You Need Caring Support After a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can pose life-altering challenges. From doctors' visits to treatments, therapies, and constant medical monitoring, it can be physically and mentally challenging for spinal cord injury victims and their families.
Serious Injuries Need Strong Attorneys. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else's negligent actions, we are here for you. We'll be in your corner, protecting your rights and ensuring you receive the most successful outcome possible.