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Spinal cord injuries: Weight management can be tricky

People who suffer a spinal cord injury have a lot of different things to worry about. While thoughts of mobility and other similar factors might come to mind, other factors also affect people who have a spinal cord injury. One of those is weight management.

For most people, losing weight means decreasing calories and increasing physical activity. For a person who has a spinal cord injury, decreasing calories is usually doable but increasing physical activity isn't. That can make keeping their weight within a healthy range rather difficult.

When a person suffers a spinal cord injury, weight loss usually occurs as the metabolism increases to help compensate for the injury. The increased metabolism helps to provide nutrients and energy that can help to fight infection as the body heals. Once that initial burst of metabolism abates, weight gain is possible.

A person with a spinal cord injury usually doesn't need as many calories per day as a person who doesn't have a spinal cord injury. While it might be tempting to just cut out as many calories as possible, a person with a spinal cord injury still needs enough calories to enable the body to fight infection and keep all the body's systems working.

Meal planning is necessary, but a person who has a spinal cord injury might not be able to prepare meals on their own. That would mean that they might have to incur the cost of having meals prepared.

When compared to other costs associated with spinal cord injuries, that might seem like a small cost. It can still cause financial stress for the person. In that instance, seeking compensation might make it a bit easier to afford the care they need.

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham, "Weight Management following Spinal Cord Injury," accessed Oct. 19, 2015

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