Sympathetic Nervous System Diseases

Sympathetic Nervous System Diseases

The nervous system has three different kinds of nerves. The sensory nerves give us the ability to taste, feel, hear and smell. The motor nerves cause body movements. The autonomic nerves cause the functioning of the internal organs. All these three nerve systems put together, control the internal and external functions of the body. The autonomic nervous system is further subdivided into sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.


The sympathetic nervous system causes the flight or fight response in the body like increasing the heart rate, dilating the pupils and relaxing the respiratory system. The parasympathetic nerves help the body in sleeping and digestion. Unfortunately, just like any other part of the body, even the sympathetic nervous system can be struck down by diseases.

The sympathetic nervous system also regulates the perspiration and blood flow during stress. If the nerves of the sympathetic nervous system are hurt on the hand and arm they become overactive. It is called RSD, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy. RSD causes symptoms like burning, warmth in the arms, discoloration in the hand and sometimes swelling. The causes for RSD are not very clear and according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that it can be caused due to injury, surgery and related complications and even infections. Many of these factors injure the nerves and cause dystrophy in the sympathetic nerves by interfering in their reaction.

Parkinson’s disease is also related to the nervous system and the exact causes of it are unknown. In a person with Parkinson’s disease it is observed that the brain releases inadequate amounts of protein, and dopamine in the brain. According to Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease mainly affects the motor nerve and causes several symptoms like tremors, slow movement and loss of coordination and as well as balance. The Parkinson disease also causes damage to the sympathetic nerves that go to the heart. This leads to abnormal changes in the blood pressure, hypotension and also causes dizziness. This causes changes in the posture when rising from a sitting position, for example.

Diabetic neuropathy is another nerve disease which causes nerve damages all through the body. It affects both the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. So, the sensory and the motor nerves are both affected. Autonomic neuropathy condition is common with people who have had a long history of untreated diabetes. However, this kind of nerve disorder can disturb the cardiovascular system's ability to function properly by interrupting the blood flow. The Mayo Clinic also says that neuropathy causes erectile dysfunction.

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