Spinal Injury Increases Heart Attack Stroke Risk

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A spinal injury could increase the risks of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, substantially for patients. That information comes from a new study that was conducted by Canadian researchers.

According to the research, patients who have a spinal cord injury are much more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These persons have an up to 3 times higher risk of suffering cardiac disease, and a four -times higher risk of suffering a stroke. The results of the study were published recently in the journal Neurology.

According to the researchers, the heightened risk among these patients brings their risk of cardiovascular disease on par with patients who already suffer from other possible risk factors, like smoking, diabetes and obesity. The researchers found that the heightened risk of cardiovascular disease among persons of spinal cord injury was very similar to the amplified risk among persons who smoke heavily, are obese or suffer from diabetes.

The data came from an analysis 60,000 people, who participated in the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey. Out of these, the researchers identified 355 persons who had suffered spinal injury and also suffered a stroke. They also found 356 people who had suffered a spinal cord injury and also reported cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe that having a spinal cord injury can increase the risk factors for cardiovascular disease that include lack of exercise, hypertension and chronic inflammation.

Past research has also found an association between spinal injury and cardiovascular disease. For instance, a report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center that was released recently found that high blood pressure or hypertension and heart disease are the third-leading cause of mortality among persons who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

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