Premature Aging After Spinal Cord Injury

doctor reviewing spine

People with spinal cord injury may be more susceptible to premature aging, possibly because the additional stress on physical systems such as organs or muscles is beyond the injured body's capacity for repair.

A recent research review has found significant evidence of premature aging after spinal cord injury within cardiovascular, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems. Specifically, people with spinal cord injury are predisposed to premature carbohydrate and lipid abnormalities, hormone deficiencies, and rapid bone loss (both density and mass). Other physical systems may also be negatively affected, but more studies are required to confirm this.

When looking ahead at the needs and challenges facing a spinal cord injury patient, the effects of premature aging should therefore be given serious consideration.

Hitzig SL, Eng JJ, Miller WC, & Sakakibara BM. An evidence-based review of aging of the body systems following spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. (January 2011).