Whether you suffered a spinal cord injury in a work-related accident or a motor vehicle accident, you may face an uncertain future. Doctors may have told you that your paralysis is permanent.

As you deal with that prognosis, your doctors may also tell you that you need to watch for other secondary conditions that could threaten your life. You may be aware of the potential for bedsores, deep vein thrombosis and pain, but another condition requires immediate medical attention, and some doctors may not even know about it.

What is autonomic dysreflexia?

If your spinal cord injury occurred at T6 or above, you could suffer from this potentially life-threatening condition. Caught right away, doctors can easily treat it. However, if you don’t understand your triggers, baseline blood pressure or symptoms, you could suffer a stroke or worse due to this condition. The symptoms include the following:

  • Pounding headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating above the level of injury
  • Flushed face
  • Nausea
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Pulse slower than 60 beats per minute

You will need to be aware of your body and pay attention for these symptoms in order to avoid your condition getting worse. An irritation of your bowel, bladder or skin can trigger an episode of AD. Other causes include pressure sores, ingrown toenails and burns, among other things. Basically, irritations that you may not be able to feel can trigger AD.

This makes it a challenge for you to catch the condition quickly enough to get the medical attention you need. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation recommends that those at risk for AD should carry a card with information that emergency medical personnel may need in order to properly treat you. The card would contain information on AD along with your baseline blood pressure.

Getting the support you need

This is just one of the potentially life-threatening secondary conditions you may contract now that you suffer from paralysis. You probably already knew that you faced extensive medical and other care needs for the rest of your life, but you may not have anticipated having to be constantly vigilant for secondary conditions. This may only add to your frustrations and adjustments to your new way of life.

If another party caused your injuries, or your injuries were work-related, you may be entitled to pursue compensation needed to help pay for your current and future medical needs, including diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of any secondary conditions.