Up until this month, the general consensus estimated the amount at 250,000 and about four million, respectively. Large numbers indeed, but according to a study just released by theChristopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, they fall far short of reality.
Add 40% to the number of those living with paralysis and multiply four million spinal cord injuries by five and you will have a better idea of the actual numbers: 1.275 million spinal cord injuries and 5.6 million who live with some kind of paralysis.
The study (that surveyed more than 33,000 households) was simplified by the president and CEO of the Reeve Foundation to mean “one in 50 Americans is living with some form of paralysis, whether caused by disease, spinal cord injury or neurological damage…someone you know is living with paralysis – a family member, a friend or a work colleague”.
Some key findings:
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries are a great deal more widespread than previously assumed.
- Stroke, followed by spinal cord injuries are the top causes of paralysis.
- “Household income for those with paralysis is heavily skewed towards lower-income brackets and is significantly lower than household income for the country as a whole. Roughly 25 percent of households with a person who is paralyzed earn less than $10,000 per year, compared with only seven percent of households in the general population.”
This survey is the first of its kind and the data that it collected will help this population obtain the health care that they need. In response to this study, the Reeve Foundation plans to launch a campaign to change public policy for the better – stay tuned for more details!