Definition of Autonomic hyperreflexia
Autonomic hyperreflexia is a reaction of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system to overstimulation. This reaction may include high blood pressure, change in heart rate, skin color changes (paleness, redness, blue-grey skin color), and excessive sweating.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The most common cause of autonomic hyperreflexia is spinal cord injury. In this condition, types of stimulation that are tolerated by healthy people create an excessive response from the person’s nervous system.
Symptoms can include any or all of the following:
This condition is life-threatening, so it is important to quickly identify and treat the problem.
The outlook depends on the underlying cause. People with autonomic hyperreflexia due to medications usually recover when the medications that are causing the symptoms are stopped. When the condition is caused by other factors, recovery depends on the success of treating the underlying disease.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. – 6/16/2010