Living with Autonomic Dysreflexia: What You Really Need to Know
Autonomic Dysreflexia, or AD for short, is a severe condition suffered by thousands of Americans that causes severe discomfort and can be life-threatening. However, this condition is often ill-understood, even by members of the medical community.
In the above video, I talk about some of my personal insights into Autonomic Dysreflexia, what it is, the symptoms, the triggers for AD attacks, the importance of being vigilant about symptoms, and taking proactive measures to prepare for an attack. One measure I recommend in the video is carrying special wallet cards that detail your condition, baseline vitals, injury details, and medications to relieve AD symptoms (you can find the PDFs for these cards on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation website).
As I say in the video:
If you or someone you know suffers from Autonomic Dysreflexia, please share this video. Let's raise awareness, let's educate those closest to us so they know the symptoms and what to do in case of an emergency. There's no shame in speaking about this condition. We didn't ask for this, it came along with our spinal cord injury. And, until we find a cure for spinal cord injury, we need to raise awareness about everything it involves, including Autonomic Dysreflexia.
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About the Author
My name is Jessika Kattah and I am 30 years young. I am a Level T2 Incomplete Paraplegic since 2012. When I was a Freshman in high school, doctors discovered a lipoma tumor compressed against my spine the “length of a hot dog and the width of a baseball.” I had my 1st surgery to remove 75% of the tumor at 14 and 3 months of physical therapy and I was back to my active able-body teenage self. I never thought of the tumor again. Fast forward 12 years and at the age of 26, I started losing sensation in parts of my lower half. I went in to see a neurologist who confirmed by MRI that the tumor had fully grown back. I was scheduled for surgery #2 immediately. I went into surgery able-bodied and woke up 9 hours later paralyzed. Though doctors were able to remove 45% of the tumor that time, it was so compressed against my spinal cord that my spine was physically damaged. When I woke up from surgery, I realized that my life had completely changed.
I started my blog about a year after my injury after many requests to do so by both able-bodies and wheelers. They were curious about how I did things in a chair. I am more than happy to educate curious minds. While I hope we find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury one day, I still have to continue my life. Paralysis may have knocked me down for a while but it didn’t knock me out. I am alive, I am breathing, and I intend on living life to the fullest. Please connect with me via the links below! I look forward to getting to know you!
You can help support Jessika and Rey by donating to their Go Fund Me Account where they are raising funds to make their first home adaptive to their accessibility needs.
To learn more about Jessika and read her personal blog visit her website here:
Also connect with her on: