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What’s the difference between a paraplegic and a quadriplegic?

| Source: delawareonline.com

What’s the difference between a Paraplegic and a quadriplegic?

Spinal cord injuries occur when there’s damage to the spinal cord. The result is loss of function, usually in mobility or feeling. Severe injuries that occur in the neck usually result in Quadriplegia, which is paralysis from about the shoulders down. Typically, the higher the neck injury, the more Disability there is.

Quadriplegics lack the ability to move their arms and legs, and some may require a Ventilator to breathe. Paraplegics have an injury further down the spinal cord and experience a loss of sensation and movement in their legs and in part or all of their trunk. In many cases, there is some use of their hands or arms. Depending on the extent of the injury and whether the damage is permanent, there may be a loss of bladder and bowel control.

More than 54 percent of spinal cord injuries are the result of vehicular collisions. More than a quarter result from other medical conditions and sports injuries. Falls make up about 18 percent.

In addition to quadriplegic and paraplegic, the terms “complete” and “incomplete” are used to describe the type of spinal cord injury. Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and movement below the injury. Both sides of the body are affected equally.

Incomplete injuries result in partial loss of feeling and function below the injury. For example, someone with an Incomplete Injury may be able to move one limb more than another or feel a part of the body that can’t be moved. Complete and incomplete injuries can occur in Paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Other effects may include low blood pressure, inability to regulate blood pressure, reduced control of body temperature and inability to sweat below the injury.

Sources: National Spinal Cord Injury Association, Spinal Cord Injury Information

  1. Thank you for a good explanation of the two conditions. I am planning on starting a adventure motorcycle touring company in South Africa for paraplegia and quadriplegics. Where will I be able to get information regarding their special needs and how to take care of them?

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