Abstract Information


Lifetime Prevalence Comparison of Chronic Health Conditions between Spinal Cord Injury Cohorts and the General Population

Cao Y, Krause J
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United states

Objective: Chronic health conditions (CHCs), such as hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis, are of major concern in the general population. Although CHCs may also be of concern after spinal cord injury (SCI), they have received substantially less attention than secondary health conditions (e.g., pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections), which are known to elevate risk of morbidity and mortality after SCI (Krause, Carter, Pickelsimer, & Wilson, 2008; Krause & Saunders, 2011; Krause, Zhai, Saunders, & Carter, 2009). Our purpose was to compare the prevalence of 11 CHCs between those with SCI and those in the general population by using identical items from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Design/Method: This cross-sectional study included 627 participants with SCI identified from the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Surveillance Registry and meeting the following criteria: (1) traumatic SCI, (2) minimum of 1-year post-injury, and (3) between 18 and 64 years old at the time of measurement. We used the South Carolina 2016 BRFSS as the general population data for comparison. This comparison is appropriate as we identified the participants with SCI through a population-based registry from the same state, rather than a clinical participant entry. We retrieved prevalence data of 11 CHCs (diabetes, heart attack, angina, stroke, arthritis, skin cancer, other types of cancer, kidney disease, asthma, depression, and COPD) and their 95% confidence interval (CI) from the BRFSS. We used identical self-report questions from the BRFSS by asking the participants with SCI whether a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told them they had any of the 11 CHCs. We calculated the prevalence of these CHCs and their 95% CI for the participants with SCI and compared them with those of general population.

Results: Among 11 CHCs, the participants with SCI had significantly higher lifetime prevalence of diabetes, angina, stroke, arthritis and depression than those in the general population. We did not find significant difference in the prevalence of heart attack, skin cancer, other types of cancer, kidney disease, asthma, and COPD between the participants with SCI and the general population.

Conclusion: People with SCI have higher lifetime prevalence of CHCs than those in the general population. However, we cannot determine the extent to which these have resulted from SCI.

Support: Administration for Community Living, NIDILRR grant 90IF0070.


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