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06/15/2009 - Questions and Answers

Autonomic neuropathy and heart symptoms

By: Novoviva webmaster

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Question

I have irregular heartbeats - there have been times when I have awakened to feel as if my heart is going to jump out of my chest and it scares me; then everything goes back to normal.

I have autonomic neuropathy - could this be causing this irregular heartbeat?
 

Answer

We can understand your concern, but would advise you to report your disturbing heart rhythm symptoms to your own doctor for assessment. The cause may possibly be your autonomic neuropathy.
 

Neuropathy is a term for damage to the nerves. People with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood-sugar levels, and are more likely to develop if blood-glucose levels are poorly controlled. Early on, intermittent pain and tingling is noted in the extremities, particularly the feet; this is peripheral neuropathy. However, autonomic neuropathy is damage to the nerves that regulate the part of your nervous system that you can't control voluntarily - the nerves that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, and digestion, among other functions.
 

Many arrhythmias occur in people who do not have underlying heart disease. Heart disease may cause arrhythmias but other causes include: stress, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, diet pills, and cough-and-cold medicines.
 

The links below may be helpful to you in learning more about autonomic neuropathy and arrhythmias.

 

Related Links
MayoClinic.com: Autonomic Neuropathy
MedlinePlus: Autonomic Neuropathy
Cleveland Clinic Heart Center: Arrhythmias

Created on: 08/21/2005
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009

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