Facebook Pixel

Autonomic Neuropathy in Diabetics

Rate This
Diabetes  related image Photo: Getty Images

I have been throwing up constantly for the last two months. At first I thought I had a bug or something. Then I started having a sore throat and severe abdominal pain along with body pains, lower back pain, and muscle cramps. At first it was on and off, and then it started to be annoying. After awhile I was worried all the time about what was happening to me. Sometimes I would eat my lunch or dinner, and after an hour for no apparent reason I would throw up with no warning at all. I felt dizzy and unstable. At this point in time I researched about common gastrointestinal problems in diabetics. Most of the symptoms I associated with my GI system. I read about how autonomic neuropathy could contribute to many conditions including the GI system.

Autonomic neuropathy is a nerve disorder that affects the involuntary body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and digestion. When the autonomic nerves are damaged they disrupt the signals that go between the brain and nervous system that works with different bodily organs including involuntary functions.

Major symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include:
a. dizziness/fainting due to lowered blood pressure
b. urinary problems such as incontinence, inability to empty bladder, or starting the urination which eventually lead to bladder infections
c. sexual difficulties
d. digestion process problems including slow stomach emptying, diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, gastroparesis, nausea, vomiting and heartburn
e. sweating
f. sluggish pupil reaction causing difficulty to the pupil to adjust to light or darkness
g. exercise intolerance where the heart rate remains unchanged

The American Diabetic Association recommends testing for autonomic neuropathy as follows:
a. screening every year for type 2 diabetics soon after diagnosis
b. screening five years after diagnosis for type 1 diabetics.

Causes of autonomic neuropathy also include:
a. alcoholism
b. abnormal protein buildup
c. auto immune disease
d. diabetes (the most common cause)
e. injury to the nerves due to trauma or surgery
f. medications
g. chronic illnesses

Tests for this condition include: GI tests, urinalysis, and bladder function tests. Treatment usually is for the underlying diseases such as maintaining tight control over diabetes, a diet that includes high fiber, high fluid intakes, medications, and antidepressants. (medlineplus.com).

Now, in my case I felt a medication called Crestor that I take was causing these problems . I was switched from Lipitor, which I was taking for over six years, to Crestor recently and ever since I started having some problem or another. It turns out both Crestor and Plavix, which I also take, involve the same kinds of side effects that I was having, which was interesting to me. I have taken Plavix before and did not have any symptoms. So when I presented my doubts about Crestor to my cardiologist, he simply switched me back to Lipitor. It's been only couple of days so I just have to wait and see what happens.

The best thing for me to do is just watch out for the symptoms and signs of different conditions, medications, and foods that cause discomfort. If they persist more than a couple of weeks I will just go to the doctor and get it checked out. Sometimes, common sense works better than just depending on the doctors solely for treatment. We know our bodies better and we need to take charge because, OUR LIFE MATTERS.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

A lot of pharmaceutical, agricultural and even some cosmetis or household products can cause autonomic neuropathy, to a geater or lesse extent, but in some cases the damage can be irreversible. Thank you for this article.

June 13, 2011 - 9:54am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



Get Email Updates

Diabetes Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!