Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a simple dietary intervention for individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) and moderately elevated total cholesterol.
Methods: Baseline and follow-up serum lipid values were obtained on 222 persons with SCI. Eighty-six individuals with total cholesterol >200 mg/dL were referred for dietary consultation (group 1). The remainder with values <200 mg/dL and no consultation served as controls (group 2).
Results: At average follow-up of 16 months, group 1 demonstrated significant declines in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), whereas group 2 demonstrated significant increases in total cholesterol. Triglyceride levels followed similar but nonsignificant patterns. There were no significant changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol for either group. In group 1, 17% had clinically significant reductions in total cholesterol to <200 mg/dL and 21% had reductions of LDL-C from >135 mg/dL to <135 mg/dL.
Conclusions: Dietary intervention should be an initial treatment for those with SCI and moderately elevated total cholesterol, with the expectation that approximately 20% will respond favorably.