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Addressing cardiometabolic risk in adults with spinal cord injury: acting now despite knowledge gaps

Authors
  • Sabharwal, S.1, 2
  • 1 VA Boston Health Care System, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 2 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Spinal Cord Series and Cases
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
Nov 27, 2019
Volume
5
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/s41394-019-0241-5
Source
Springer Nature
License
Yellow

Abstract

This perspective advocates for the adoption of recently published clinical practice guidelines on identifying and managing cardiometabolic risk after spinal cord injury (SCI). It makes the case for acting now, with the knowledge that we currently have, while continuing to address knowledge gaps with high-quality research studies in this area. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in people with SCI. Cardiometabolic disease (CMD) and risks are more likely to be overlooked after SCI. Unique SCI-related considerations impact both assessment and management of cardiometabolic risk. Risk factors and components of CMD including obesity, impaired glucose tolerance/insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension should be evaluated and managed to optimize the cardiometabolic health of this population. While it would be optimal to base all care on high-quality evidence-based research, its absence should not be an excuse for inaction. Applying what is currently known and filling the research gaps with empirical recommendations based on clinical rationale and expert consensus is both appropriate and necessary till more definitive SCI-specific evidence becomes available.

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