Autonomic Dysreflexia cards can save a life
One of the side effects of an SCI is Autonomic Dysreflexia. AD is an over-activity of the autonomic nervous system.
The reflex resuts in spasms and a narrowing of the blood vessels. This causes a rise in blood pressure. A message is then sent to the brain which sends messages to the heart. This caues the heartbeat to slow down and the blood vessels above the level of injury to dilate. But the brain cannot send messages below the level of injury and therefore the blood pressure cannot be regulated.
The condition can be life threatening. It can impair heart rate, breathing, digestion, etc. It usually occcurs when an injury is above the T6 level.
The Reeve Foundation has developed wallet size informational cards. These give a quick summary of what it means, what happens during an episode, and what to do when it does. The info can also be downloaded.
Information from Christopherreeve.org
Photo: the laminated card