Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injury and diabetes: What you need to know

If you’ve been in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, you may now be disabled and unable to work in the same capacity you did before. You may be unable to care for yourself without help or contribute to your family like you once did. This is a big adjustment and traumatic for many spinal cord injury victims.

Plus, the damage from the accident that caused your spinal cord injury may not be limited to just disabling you. If you have a spinal cord injury or spinal cord disorder, you could have a significantly higher chance of developing type II diabetes than other people.

Has this happened to you? You could have legal recourse to demand additional compensation. An experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer can give you legal insight into your options for compensation for spinal cord injury and diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin for your body to manage its blood glucose levels (blood sugar) properly. High blood sugar is extremely dangerous and causes serious, sometimes irreparable, harm to your cells and organs.

The disease takes two forms: Type 1 and Type 2. People with Type 1 Diabetes have a genetic disposition to the disease and can’t take steps to avoid developing the disease. It’s also not reversible. However, spinal cord injury victims often develop Type 2 Diabetes, which can be avoided or reversed if the person makes dietary and lifestyle changes. Many people develop Type 2 Diabetes because they lead a sedentary lifestyle and eat a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates.

Even people with spinal cord injuries could reverse the progress of Type 2 Diabetes or even become diabetes-free. Still, they face challenges that more able-bodied people do not: difficulty or lack of mobility.

Spinal cord injury and diabetes – who is at risk?

People who are sedentary or obese have a high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. People with spinal cord injuries or degenerative spinal cord conditions typically fall into at least one of these categories. The risk increases if the person has high amounts of abdominal fat. Fat cells cancel out insulin’s effects, contributing to insulin resistance.

When cells resist insulin, the body’s blood sugar levels remain high. The pancreas makes more and more insulin, but the insulin cannot get into the cells to moderate blood sugar. Eventually, the pancreas fails to produce insulin naturally. The person must now take insulin injections or have an insulin pump inserted.

Paraplegics and quadriplegics tend to store fat more around the abdomen and have a higher level of abdominal fat than an able-bodied person who is similar in size and waist circumference. This leads to a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Do I have diabetes?

It’s possible you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic and don’t know it. You may need a doctor to perform a glucose test if you’re in a high-risk demographic. The early symptoms and signs of diabetes can go unnoticed for years, as they’re often subtle and slow to present.

Classic symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive hunger
  • Sugar craving

Complications from a spinal cord injury and type II diabetes

Going on insulin injections and having your pancreas fail are just two complications of type II diabetes. Without treatment and a lifestyle change, your blood can eventually poison you. Untreated diabetes could also result in progressive vision loss ending in blindness.

Untreated Type 2 Diabetes can also start causing your tissues to necrotize. It could start with your toes and feet, spreading to your lower legs and up the body. These tissues could get damaged to the point of gangrene, which can be deadly unless the affected part of the body is amputated.

Someone with a spinal cord injury may not notice the telltale signs of diabetes-caused necrosis, which is tingling or numbness in the toes and feet. If your spinal cord injury has damaged the nerves in the lower part of your body, you won’t feel this symptom.

A Missouri personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation for a progressive disease

Have you developed diabetes after a spinal cord injury? If your spinal cord injury was caused because of someone else’s negligence, then you could be eligible for compensation for your injury and other losses. If you developed Type 2 Diabetes because you are now sedentary due to the spinal cord injury, you could receive compensation for any expenses and losses you suffer.

We can help. Contact Langdon & Emison at (866) 931-2115 for a free consultation.