Do spinal cord injuries impact the aging process? What impact do spinal cord injuries have on the musculoskeletal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and circulatory systems? Acquired spinal cord injuries including those experienced in a motor vehicle accident can have long-term consequences that include acceleration of the aging process. Among the factors that determine the rate of decline are the severity of the injury, genetics, age at injury, the level of care received, and the presence of any comorbid conditions.
Long-Term Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Studies conducted on the health of individuals following spinal cord injuries (SCI) show that as many as 93% of survivors of SCI's are susceptible to a significant decline in physical health 10 to 15 years after their initial injury. The older the individual is at the time of the injury, the greater the possibility of long-term damage.
Musculoskeletal damage radiates into other systems. In the first 3 months following injury, individuals who suffer SCI's experience loss of bone mineralization that can be as high as 22%. This can make the individual prone to fractures throughout the body.
Loss of mobility caused by an SCI can also lead to changes to soft-tissue. This can make the individual more prone to bruising, sores, and pressure ulcers. This is often accompanied by muscle loss and the buildup of adipose fat. In turn, this has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that individuals with an SCI have a 200% greater incidence of cardiovascular disease than their peers in the same age demographic.
SCI's also impact the long-term health of the gastrointestinal system. 74% of patients develop hemorrhoids, 20% develop difficulty with bowel function. Most concerning is that 43% of SCI survivors develop autonomic dysreflexia which is a potentially deadly condition. Gastrointestinal problems are most common in patients aged 60 years or older whose injuries are 30+ years old.
The endocrine system is also heavily influenced by damage to the spinal cord. 22% of patients who survive an SCI develop diabetes. A further 34% have limited glucose tolerance.
Ensure that You Have Medical Coverage of Spinal Injuries
Here at Brad Pistotnik Law, we make it our responsibility to ensure that people who suffer spinal cord injuries due to the negligence or fault of another party obtain the compensation they deserve. Often, medical bills can cascade until they're completely out of control--it's one of the reasons that medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcty in the United States. Make sure that you're able to get the care that you deserve for your spinal injury by talking to one of our experienced lawyers.