People with traumatic spinal cord injury are often disabled for life. They require lifelong rehabilitation and that impacts their lives, as it is more difficult to find work when disabled. A new study has revealed that traumatic spinal cord injuries are on the rise. While incidence rates among the younger male population in the US dropped during 1993-2012, rates for men aged 65 to 74 years jumped to 131 cases per million from 84 cases per million. One in five with such injuries were found to have died in the hospital.
Lead author Nitin Jain, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US, said, "Spinal cord injury is a major public health issue in the older patients. We don't really know the exact reason for why there is an increased incidence of falls that cause spinal cord injury. Older adults are likely much more active now, putting them at a higher risk. For example, 70-year-olds today may be more likely to go skiing than 70-year-olds would have 20 years ago. We find that the portion of patients who have surgical procedures is also increasing over time. Most patients regain some function after an injury. But most of these patients will have need for health care services throughout their life, many of them pretty intensive."
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.