What to do if AD is suspected:
- You should sit up if possible, or raise your head to 90 degrees – if you can lower your legs, do so.
- Next, loosen or remove anything tight
- Check blood pressure every five minutes. Unusually high blood pressure readings may be a sign of autonomic dysreflexia, eg:
- 20 mm to 40mm Hg above baseline in adults
- 15mm above baseline in children
- 15mm to 20mm above baseline in adolescents
- Most importantly, you or your carer should locate the cause of the AD:
- Begin by looking for your most common causes: bladder, bowel, tight clothing, skin issues
- Once identified, the cause needs to be treated or removed. Keep in mind that AD may get worse before it gets better.
- Seek prompt medical advice if the cause cannot be identified or the hypertension cannot be controlled.
- If the hypertension is severe, or the cause still cannot be identified, you will need to be treated with medication.
Medications are generally used only if the offending trigger/stimulus cannot be identified and removed – or when an episode persists even after removal of the suspected cause.
Potentially useful medications include:
Nifedipine 10mg – the content of the capsule should be put under the tongue and the capsule swallowed.
Note: Individuals at risk of experiencing Autonomic dysreflexia should be prescribed a small quantity of Nifedipine to be kept close at hand.
Note: If Viagra or Cialis is being taken GTN must not be used as B/P will be lowered too much.
It is recommended that you should carry an emergency medical alert card with a short summary of causes and treatment which may assist medical practitioners in a community setting.