Autonomic neuropathy can be caused by a large number of diseases and conditions or can be a side effect of treatment for diseases unrelated to the nervous system. Some common causes of autonomic neuropathy include:

  • Abnormal protein buildup in organs (amyloidosis), which affects the organs and the nervous system.
  • Autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system attacks and damages parts of your body, including your nerves. Examples include Sjogren's syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus. Autonomic neuropathy may also be caused by an abnormal attack by the immune system that occurs as a result of some cancers (paraneoplastic syndrome).
  • Diabetes, which is the most common cause of autonomic neuropathy, can gradually cause nerve damage throughout the body.
  • Injury to nerves caused by surgery or radiation to the neck.
  • Treatment with certain medications, including some drugs used in cancer chemotherapy, some antidepressants and some heart medications.
  • Other chronic illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease.
  • Certain infectious diseases. Some viruses and bacteria, such as botulism, leprosy and diphtheria, can cause autonomic neuropathy.
  • Inherited disorders. Certain hereditary disorders can cause autonomic neuropathy.
Jul. 12, 2012

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