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Self-reported physical activity and risk markers for cardiovascular disease after spinal cord injury
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Professionell Development.
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, ISSN 1650-1977, E-ISSN 1651-2081, Vol. 46, no 9, 886-890 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


To examine whether self-reported physical activity of a moderate/vigorous intensity influences risk markers for cardiovascular disease in persons with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury.


Descriptive, cross-sectional study.


A total of 134 wheelchair-dependent individuals (103 men, 31 women) with chronic (>= 1 year) post-traumatic spinal cord injury with paraplegia.


Cardiovascular disease markers (hypertension, blood glucose and a blood lipid panel) were analysed and related to physical activity.


One out of 5 persons reported undertaking physical activity >= 30 min/day. Persons who were physically active >= 30 min/day were significantly younger than inactive persons. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lower in the physically active group. When adjusting for age, the association between systolic blood pressure and physical activity disappeared. Physical activity >= 30 min/day had a tendency to positively influence body mass index and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. Men had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures than women, lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and higher triglycerides. No other significant differences between men and women were found.


Self-reported physical activity >= 30 min/day in persons with spinal cord injury positively influenced diastolic blood pressure. No other reductions in cardiovascular disease risk markers were seen after controlling for age. These results indicate a positive effect of physical activity, but it cannot be concluded that recommendations about physical activity in cardiovascular disease prevention for the general population apply to wheelchair-dependent persons with spinal cord injury.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 46, no 9, 886-890 p.
Keyword [en]
prevention, paraplegia, blood pressure
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96621DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1857ISI: 000343076800009PubMedID: 25211062OAI: diva2:766592
Available from: 2014-11-27 Created: 2014-11-24 Last updated: 2016-09-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spinal cord injuries in Sweden: studies on clinical follow-ups
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spinal cord injuries in Sweden: studies on clinical follow-ups
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A spinal cord injury is a serious medical condition, often caused by a physical trauma. An injury to the spinal cord affects the neurotransmission between the brain and spinal cord segments below the level of injury. The SCI causes a loss of motor function, sensory function and autonomic regulation of the body, temporary or permanent. Significantly improved acute care, primary comprehensive rehabilitation and life-long structured follow-up has led to persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) living longer than ever before. However, increased long-time survival has allowed secondary conditions to emerge, like diabetes mellitus and where cardiovascular disease (CVD) now is the most common cause of death among SCI patients. Other possible CVD-related comorbidities in this patient group have been reported to be pain and mood disturbances. There is still lack of, and need for more knowledge in the field of CVD-related screening and prevention after SCI.

The overall aim of this thesis was to contribute to a scientific ground regarding the need for CVD-related screening and prevention after SCI.

In Paper I and Paper II, patients with wheelchair-dependent post-traumatic SCI (paraplegia) were assessed. The results in paper I showed that 80% of the examined patients had at least one cardiovascular disease risk marker irrespective of body mass index (BMI). Dyslipidemia was common for both men and women at all BMI categories. The study also showed a high prevalence of hypertension, especially in men. Paper II showed a low frequency of self-reported physical activity, where only one out of 5 persons reported undertaking physical activity >30 min/day. The physically active had lower diastolic blood pressure but no significant difference in blood lipids.

In paper III and IV, patients with SCI (tetraplegia and paraplegia) participated in the studies. Eighty-one percent of the patients had dyslipidemia, where also a majority of the patients with normal abdominal clinical measures had dyslipidemia. Self-reported physical activity >30min/day was reported by one third of the patients. No differences were found between physically active and not physically active patients when it came to blood glucose, serum lipid values and clinical measures (paper III). Pain was common in the patient group, however, most often on a mild to moderate level. Anxiety and depression was less common than reported in other studies (paper IV).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2016. 73 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1824
Tetraplegia, paraplegia, cardiovascular disease, prevention, anthropometry, physical activity
National Category
Research subject
Rehabilitation Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125202 (URN)978-91-7601-526-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-30, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-09-09 Created: 2016-09-08 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved

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