Autonomic neuropathy

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Autonomic neuropathy (also AN or AAN) is a form of polyneuropathy that affects the non-voluntary, non-sensory nervous system (i.e., the autonomic nervous system), affecting mostly the internal organs such as the bladder muscles, the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, and the genital organs. These nerves are not under a person's conscious control and function automatically. Autonomic nerve fibers form large collections in the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis outside the spinal cord. They have connections with the spinal cord and ultimately the brain, however. Most commonly autonomic neuropathy is seen in persons with long-standing diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. In most—but not all—cases, autonomic neuropathy occurs alongside other forms of neuropathy, such as sensory neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy is one cause of malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (referred to as dysautonomia), but not the only one; some conditions affecting the brain or spinal cord also may cause autonomic dysfunction, such as multiple system atrophy, and therefore, may cause similar symptoms to autonomic neuropathy.

Signs and Symptoms[edit]

The signs and symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include the following:[citation needed]

Causes[edit]

Many health conditions can cause autonomic neuropathy. It may also be a side effect of treatments for other diseases, such as cancer. Some common causes of autonomic neuropathy include:

Abnormal protein buildup in organs (amyloidosis), which affects the organs and the nervous system. Autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system attacks and damages parts of your body, including your nerves. Examples include Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease. Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disease that happens rapidly and can affect autonomic nerves.

Autonomic neuropathy may also be caused by an abnormal attack by the immune system that occurs as a result of some cancers (paraneoplastic syndrome).

Diabetes, which is the most common cause of autonomic neuropathy, can gradually cause nerve damage throughout the body. Injury to nerves caused by surgery or radiation to the neck. Treatment with certain medications, including some drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. Other chronic illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and some types of dementia. Certain infectious diseases. Some viruses and bacteria, such as botulism, Lyme disease and HIV, can cause autonomic neuropathy. Inherited disorders. Certain hereditary disorders can cause autonomic neuropathy.

Mechanism[edit]

Diagnosis[edit]

Treatment[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vinik, AI; Erbas, T (2013). "Diabetic autonomic neuropathy.". Handbook of clinical neurology. 117: 279–94. PMID 24095132. doi:10.1016/b978-0-444-53491-0.00022-5.