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Spinal injuries not only increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, but dramatically impacts the ongoing costs associated with caring for the patient, says spinal cord injury attorney Keith T. Belt.
Risks for stroke were nearly four times higher among those with spinal cord injury, according to a report published in the August issue of the journal Neurology.
The authors noted that with advances in the treatment of potentially fatal conditions associated with spinal cord injuries, such as septicemia, renal failure, and pneumonia, cardiovascular risks have taken over as the leading cause of mortality among patients with injured spines. They added that spine injury can amplify certain cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as physical inactivity, dyslipidemia, blood pressure irregularities, chronic inflammation, and abnormal glycemic control.
Prior research has found significant associations between traumatic brain injury and increased risk of ischemic stroke. And according to a report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, hypertensive disorders and the resulting ischemic heart disease constitute the third leading cause of mortality in patients with spinal cord injuries.
In years past, the leading cause of death among persons with SCI was renal failure. Today, however, significant advances in urologic management have resulted in dramatic shifts in the leading causes of death. Persons enrolled in the National SCI Database since its inception in 1973 have now been followed for 40 years after injury. During that time, the causes of death that appear to have the greatest impact on reduced life expectancy for this population are pneumonia and septicemia.
Lifetime costs: The average yearly health care and living expenses and the estimated lifetime costs that are directly attributable to SCI vary greatly according to the severity of injury. These figures do not include any indirect costs such as losses in wages, fringe benefits, and productivity which average $70,575 per year in February 2013 dollars, but vary substantially based on education, the severity of the injury and pre-injury employment history.
If you’ve been in an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury, call an Alabama spinal cord injury lawyers with Belt, Bruner & Barnett right away. We will travel to see injured victims in Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville, and Birmingham.