What are the Treatment Options for Autonomic Dysreflexia?
AD is a life-threatening event. At the moment, it's crucial to reduce your high blood pressure. If your systolic blood pressure goes above 150 and stays there, get help.
The most severe complication of AD is a stroke. The first goal of treatment is to reduce that risk by treating high blood pressure. Once they've addressed the symptoms, doctors will work to treat the underlying cause of the AD.
A doctor can bring your blood pressure down safely with medicine. Dropping your pressure too low too fast can be dangerous, so your doctor will keep a close eye on you.
If medication is causing AD, treatment involves stopping that medication. If it's a blocked urinary catheter, your doctor will treat it and check for proper bladder drainage. They'll treat you with antibiotics if it's a urinary tract infection.
If bladder or bowel issues aren't the cause, your doctor will search for what else may be causing the AD and work to treat it. Other causes can include anything from ingrown toenails to latent fractures.
If you are experiencing an episode of Autonomic Dysreflexia
If you experience an episode of AD, there are a few things you need to do immediately. First, you should get into a sitting position or elevate your head as much as possible. Changing position can drop your blood pressure.
Since bladder issues are the most common cause of AD, you or a caregiver should check your bladder. Catheterize your bladder if you manage it through intermittent catheterization. If you have an indwelling catheter, check for kinks or blockage, and make sure your drainage bag is not too full. Irrigate your catheter to clear any blockage.
Next, check for bowel issues. You or your caregiver should perform digital stimulation to empty your bowel. Loosen any tight or restrictive clothing, such as belts or abdominal binder, untie shoes, and if you wear support hose, remove them.
Check your bed or wheelchair to make sure you are not sitting on anything that may be causing pressure. If none of these things resolve the issue, talk to your doctor. They can reduce your blood pressure and help uncover what may be causing AD.