Navigation Links
One in 50 Americans Lives With Paralysis

Survey shows spinal cord injuries much more common than thought

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- One in 50 Americans, or 5.6 million people, live with some form of paralysis, a new survey shows.

There have been no solid estimates until now, said Joseph Canose, vice president of quality of life for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which released the survey Tuesday. The foundation was created by the late actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in 1995, and his late wife, Dana.

"Around 4 million was guesstimated," Canose said, noting the new survey suggests that number is much larger. "Nearly 6 million people are living with paralysis, substantially higher than previous estimates."

Researchers surveyed more than 33,000 U.S. households, using input from more than 30 experts in paralysis and statistics to develop the study and survey. It was led by Anthony Cahill, a University of New Mexico disability researcher.

The major findings of the report, titled One Degree of Separation: Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury in the United States:

  • Paralysis affects 1.9 percent of the U.S. population. That reflects the number who answered yes to two questions: Do you or does anyone in this household have any difficulty moving their arms or legs?
  • Spinal cord injury, one cause of paralysis studied, is more common than thought, with the new survey finding that 1.275 million people in the United States are affected. That is more than five times the number estimated in 2007, the report said.
  • Certain groups of people have a higher number of individuals living with paralysis, including blacks and Native Americans.
  • Low income is more common among households with someone affected by paralysis. About one-fourth of households with a person who is paralyzed make less than $10,000 a year, while only 7 percent of households in the general population overall make less than that.
  • A closer look at the numbers reveals that of the 1.9 percent of Americans who have some form of paralysis, about 0.4 percent is due to a spinal cord injury.
  • The average age of those who responded that they are paralyzed is 52; considering spinal cord injury alone, the average age is 48.
  • Accidents at work were the number one cause of spinal cord injuries, followed by motor vehicle accidents, and sporting or recreation accidents.
  • Besides spinal cord injury, other causes of paralysis reported by respondents include stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and post-polio syndrome.

Next, the foundation will lobby in Washington, D.C., Canose said, using the new survey numbers to help remove barriers that can frustrate those with paralysis from getting and keeping jobs and completing tasks of daily living.

Among improvements the foundation will seek, he said, are better adherence to the Americans With Disabilities Act, more support for the family caregivers of those who are paralyzed, and more and better-trained home health attendants.

The foundation, in the report and in other publications, tries to put a human face on the problem of paralysis. For instance, one person featured in the report, Joel Heifitz, defies the stereotype. He became a quadriplegic in a swimming accident while on vacation in Mexico in 2003.

After intense rehabilitation, Heifitz, now 50, continues in his job as CEO of Concept Laboratories in Chicago, which makes health and beauty products.

"The big news [in the survey] is the numbers," Heifitz said. Once the new statistics sink in, the hope is that policymakers can be convinced that they need to make some changes, he noted.

"Rehabilitation services are not adequate, in many cases," Heifitz added. Neither is access to proper equipment to help those who are paralyzed complete tasks of daily living and get to work, he said. "You are already trapped within your life," he said. "Without the help of aid you are more trapped."

Breaking down barriers to employment and daily tasks such as dressing oneself, is crucial, agreed Betsy Volk of Cincinnati, now 34, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a 1996 motor vehicle accident. "There are so many barriers to employment we can't often become employed," she said.

But she overcome those barriers and works as a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy on diversity and civil rights issues. Still, she said, access to services often falls short, especially in the area of home services.

More information

To learn more about how those with paralysis can live a healthy life, visit the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

SOURCES: Joseph Canose, vice president, quality of life, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Short Hills, N.J.; Joel Heifitz, CEO, Concept Laboratories, Chicago; Betsy Volk, program analyst, U.S. Department of Energy, Cincinnati

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Many Older Americans Have Active Sex Lives
2. Despite grumbling, most Americans say they are happy at work
3. Record Number of Americans Lack Health Insurance
4. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: Number of Uninsured Americans Grows to 47 Million
5. New Survey Shows Americans are Still Concerned About Food Safety, Yet Still Not Smart About What They Like to Eat
6. Amid Improving Life Expectancy Rates, Risk of Premature Death is Still Significant for Americans, New Study Shows
7. AOA President Calls on Congress to Reauthorize SCHIP and Take Action to Ensure Health Care Coverage for All Americans
8. National Council on Disability Urges Congress to Support Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration
9. Few Americans Know of Leg Artery Danger
10. More Americans Urged to Get Flu Shots
11. Pelosi: Todays Sweeping, Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Drug Safety is a Victory for All Americans
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
One in 50 Americans Lives With Paralysis
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% ... More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the ... first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in ... that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to ... dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its Diagnostic ... list of CAAHEP accredited colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities in ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... San Francisco, California (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... 1969 Janis Joplin Ann Arbor Michigan boxing style concert posters. This is one of ... 1969 at the Canterbury House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people ... customers choose to buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage ... need to search the Internet high and low to find the best massage chair ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... Países Bajos, November 26, 2015 ... fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado.   ... con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer ... enfoque combina la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de ... Clinical Cancer Research . --> Clinical Cancer ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Netherlands , November 26, 2015 ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy ... Netherlands has found that immunotherapy can be ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 --> ... use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in order ... Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast images ... the patient has left, thus making it possible to both ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: