Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in chronic spinal cord injury

J Spinal Cord Med. 2001 Winter;24(4):266-77. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2001.11753584.


Background: Abnormalities of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism are more common in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population than in the able-bodied population. This is an important consideration in the long-term care of individuals with SCI.

Design: Literature review.

Findings: When compared with the able-bodied population, people with SCI are more likely to have oral carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, associated with increased prevalences of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.

Conclusions: Because of increased risk factors for diabetes mellitus and heart disease in individuals with SCI, modifiable risk factors should be addressed, eg, obesity, inactivity, dietary factors, and smoking. To reduce mortality and morbidity associated with these risk factors, periodic screening for carbohydrate and lipid abnormalities is recommended, with appropriate therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Carbohydrates