Factors associated with heart disease risk in SCI

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Heart disease risk can be reduced by keeping cholesterol, waist circumference and other risk factors in check.

Blood fats (lipids) target goals:  Keep total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl.  Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dl. LDL the “bad cholesterol” needs to stay under 130 mg/dl.  HDL the “good cholesterol” needs to stay above 40 mg/dl.  However HDL is often lower in persons with SCI due to decreased physical activity.

C Reactive Protein:  CRP is associated with risk for heart disease and created when there is stress or inflammation going on in the body.    CRP can be elevated if there is an infection or pressure sore so it doesn’t always correlate to heart disease issues. 1.0 mg/L and below means there is low risk.  Between 1.0 mg/L and 3.0 there is average risk.  ABove 3.0 is high risk.  CRP isn’t controllable by diet and needs physician care.

Ways to decrease cholesterol (without drugs):

  1. limit fat intake especially of saturated/trans fats
  2. eat more fish
  3. maintain a healthy weight
  4. stop smoking
  5. be as active as circumstances allow

It is hard to find scales than take wheelchairs.  But it is important to track weight.  Monthly weighing is recommended at a clinic or doctor’s office.

See article on general nutrition and weight issues.

Source: Vickeri Barton, RD, CD, Associate Director of Nutrition and Services, Harborview Medical Center. Presentation April 2011.

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Karen Koehler, partner at the nationally recognized law firm of SKW, blogs about all things related to spinal cord injuries...More
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