Monthly Archives: August 2005
What do all of the following have in common?
- increased muscle Spasticity
- heart, liver, kidney, & brain damage
- pressure sores
- urinary tract infections
Most spinal cord injury survivors who are used to driving a car aren’t too excited about switching to a modified van. “They’re too big. They’re too expensive. They’re not very sporty or fun. They’re too hard to drive.” Sound like you? If so, you may have even more reasons not to switch. Yet, increasing hassles, pain and fatigue may be telling you otherwise.
“I’m Not Ready…”
Breathing seems pretty basic. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. When you stop … well … you have a problem.
Obviously, if you can’t breathe, you’ve got problems. For some spinal cord injury survivors, that’s just a part of the injury. For others – those to whom this article is addressed – it could become or is becoming a problem. The issues boil down to four major categories:
You may have heard it from physicians, from family members who have been doing their reading, or from spinal cord injury survivors who go to other doctors or who were treated at different hospitals or Rehabilitation centers: “You’re going to develop cancer of the bladder if you keep that Catheter in.” Are they right? No one knows. Is the risk of bladder cancer higher in spinal cord injury survivors? Yes. Is it further increased by using an Indwelling Catheter? Again, yes. Is the risk unreasonable? Only you can make that decision. Are there things you can do to reduce that risk? Probably. The key lies in knowing your own risks, understanding your choices, and making the necessary tradeoffs, based on solid information.
As a children’s book says, “Everyone poops.” Although you may not talk about it or even think about it much, it’s important to your body and, yes, even your happiness. In fact, one study showed bowel function was a source of distress for more than half of people with spinal cord injuries. Are you one of those people? Does it have to be that way? Probably not.
Many spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors were taught early on to combine different techniques for their bowel programs – especially the use of digital stimulation, medications, and/or suppositories. Surveys show that while people do tend to stick with the combination approach, they make changes as well. Why? Researchers don’t know for sure, but it’s likely that some, if not most people make changes because of various complications or problems they’ve had with their bowel programs. The most common problems they seem to report are constipation, Incontinence, hemorrhoids, bleeding, and pain.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, accounting for more than 30% of all of their cancers. While spinal cord injury itself does not place women at higher risk of breast cancer, some of the results of SCIreduced sensation, less likelihood of bearing childrencan place SCI women in higher risk categories.
What Is Breast Cancer?
So you’ve heard cholesterol is bad. Don’t eat red meat. Eat more fish. Stay away from eggs. Don’t eat fat. Exercise a lot. Maybe you’ve even heard that your spinal cord injury can make it worse. Is it hype, or is this a real problem that you need to deal with? Is your cholesterol level a good enough reason to change your lifestyle? Here’s what you should know:
What Is Cholesterol?
It freaks many people out, but to some spinal cord injury survivors, a colostomy is a perfectly reasonable way to manage those cranky bowels. In fact, in one study, nearly three-quarters of the spinal cord injury survivors with colostomies reported an improved quality of life.
Just What is a Colostomy?
Eating is one of the more enjoyable things life has to offer. That’s why what to eat and what not to eat – especially as it relates to our heart’s health – can be frustrating, complicated, and confusing. However, from your heart’s and circulatory system’s point of view, there seem to be two main things to worry about: fat, and fat!
The First “Fat” to Deal With
Long term spinal cord injury (SCI) and diabetes? According to some researchers the two go together like coffee and cream, like Bonnie and Clyde. Dr. Bill Bauman, for example, has studied diabetes extensively in spinal cord injured people. He writes that as many as 20 percent of spinal cord injury survivors have adult-onset diabetes; an even larger percentage, he says, don’t have symptoms, yet their laboratory bloodwork findings suggest their bodies do not use insulin properly. What does this mean for SCI survivors? What should you do if you are diagnosed as having diabetes? Read on: