Feeding disorders and nutritional needs in patients with spinal cord injuries
Poor nutrition in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients can lead to medical complications such as skin ulcers, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, neurogenic problems of the intestine and bladder and fitness issues that can affect mobility and functional independence. The aim of this study was to review feeding disorders and nutritional needs in patients with SCI. For this reason, a review of the current literature was performed by using the online PUBMED database and the following keywords: “spinal cord injuries” AND (“diet” OR “nutrition” OR “malnutrition” OR “feeding” OR “eating disorders” OR “nutritional needs”). The search retrieved a total of 509 papers. After screening of titles and abstracts, 426 articles were rejected as irrelevant with the topic. Of the 83 remaining publications evaluated, 43 were rejected for various reasons. After reviewing the reference lists of the remaining studies, 6 more studies were identified. Finally, 46 studies were included in the present review. Patients with SCI are disabled for life and must change their lifestyle greatly. Injuries in cervical spine may compromise the process of swallowing, causing dysphagia and respiratory complications. The risk of under-nutrition and malnutrition in SCI patients is high. Poor diet negatively affects overall health leading to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndromes. Patients with SCI must follow a proper diet to ensure that the right amount of nutrients is delivered for sustaining the appropriate physiological mechanisms.
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