Cardiovascular disease, SCI and exercise: Unique risks and focused countermeasures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose To summarise the spinal cord injury (SCI) specific profile of three cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVD): fasting dyslipidaemia, postprandial lipidaemia and vascular inflammation and to summarise exercise prescriptions that may attenuate each. Method.NA. Results.NA. Conclusions.At least three CVD risk factors have unique profiles in the SCI population. Fasting dyslipidaemia is characterised in the SCI population by depressed HDL cholesterol and normal or low total cholesterol. In the post-prandial state, persons with SCI exhibit an exaggerated triglyceride rise and delayed clearance compared to non-disabled persons. Finally, vascular inflammation, as indexed by C-reactive protein, is markedly elevated in SCI. Exercise may improve each, although the specific prescriptions differs. Fasting dyslipidaemia responds to 8 weeks of moderate intensity aerobic exercise performed 5 days weekly for 30min daily. Post-prandial lipaemia treatment requires daily moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise, as the effect dissipates day by day. The daily exercise duration is proportional to fitness level, with total caloric expenditure emphasised rather than time. Finally, attenuating vascular inflammation in non-disabled persons requires moderate or vigorous exercise performed for ≥12 months, 5 days weekly for ≥45min; with aerobic exercise plus resistance training more effective than aerobic exercise alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2228-2236
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number26
StatePublished - 2010


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • diet
  • exercise
  • inflammation
  • lipids
  • risks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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