Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), also called hyperreflexia, can occur in persons who have suffered a spinal cord injury at or above the fifth thoracic vertebra (T6).
“Autonomic dysreflexia” means an over-activity of the Autonomic Nervous System. AD occurs when there is an irritation, pain, or other stimulus to the nervous system below the level of injury.
The irritated area sends a signal to the brain, but because of the injury to the spinal cord, the signal is not able to reach the brain. A reflex action takes place and causes the blood vessels to tighten. This, in turn, causes blood pressure to rise to dangerously high levels.
If high blood pressure is not controlled, it may cause a stroke, seizure, or even death.
Common Signs or Symptoms of Autonomic Dysreflexia
- High blood pressure
- Seeing spots or blurred vision
- Pounding headache
- Nasal congestion
- Flushed face
- Red blotching on the neck and chest
- Profuse sweating above the level of injury
- Goose bumps
- Cool, clammy skin
- Anxiety or a feeling of doom
AD is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Those who have received a spinal cord injury should be aware of the above symptoms and seek immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke as the result of AD, and the injury was sustained an accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.