Suffering a spinal cord injury is something just about everyone wants to avoid if at all possible. Many spinal cord injuries happen because of accidents, so anyone could suffer a SCI if certain circumstances occur. Still, some factors do make it more likely that you could experience damage to your spinal cord.
There are factors that are within your control while others are not. Nonetheless, knowing about them may help you to avoid a possibly tragic event that causes paralysis or another debilitating health problem. The Mayo Clinic provides further background on the people most at risk of a SCI.
Gender and age
SCIs do not happen to all genders equally. If you are male, you are more likely to experience spinal cord injury than if you are a woman. In fact, only close to 20% of traumatic spinal cord injuries happen to women. Age is also a factor, as you are at a higher risk of a SCI if you are between 16 and 30 years old. Your risk also goes up if you are over 65 since older people suffer more injuries because of falls.
Preexisting health conditions
Having an existing health problem can make you more likely to suffer a SCI. A problem with walking or balance can increase your risk of falling. Some people have problems with their bones or joints, like osteoporosis or arthritis. If you have a bone disorder and suffer a minor injury, your disorder may compound the problem and lead to serious spinal cord damage.
Some people engage in high risk activities without taking proper safety precautions. Diving into shallow water may cause a head injury that results in paralysis. Playing sports without the right safety gear or driving beyond the posted speed limit can also lead to a SCI.
Refraining from ill-advised behavior in sports or on the road might spare you a SCI. In addition, acting responsibly may help you in the event you suffer a serious injury in an auto accident caused by another driver, as it could prevent the lawyer representing the other driver from having an opening to unfairly blame you for causing the accident in the first place.