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The cost of living with a spinal cord injury is frightening

The cost of living with a spinal cord injury is something that almost nobody is prepared for. These costs can be astronomical and might lead to considerable financial struggles, especially when the injury was due to an accident.

Several factors impact the cost of having a spinal cord injury. Two of the most common are the level of paralysis and the age of the victim. The younger the victim, the higher the costs. The higher the level of paralysis, the higher the costs.

The most common type of resulting paralysis is incomplete tetraplegia. This is an injury that occurs above the T1 level. It is associated with at least some loss of mobility in all four limbs. Approximately 45 percent of spinal cord injury sufferers have this type of injury.

Incomplete paraplegia is the second most common. It accounts for 21 percent of cases. Paraplegia involves injuries below the T1 level. They are often associated with loss of mobility in the lower limbs, but the upper limbs are likely to remain functional.

Coming in at a close third is complete paraplegia, which accounts for 20 percent of cases. Fourth is complete tetraplegia with 14 percent.

The cost of a C1 to C4 tetraplegia injury is around $4,724,181 for a 25-year-old person. That cost decreases to $2,596,329 for a 50-year-old person. The cost is even lower for lower tetraplegia injuries.

A paraplegia injury is likely going to cost a 50-year-old around $1,516,052. A 25-year-old will likely incur lifetime costs of $2,310,104. The costs of incomplete injuries of any sort are lower than this.

These costs aren't all-inclusive. They only include living expenses and health care costs. Other damages, such as lost wages and similar factors, aren't included in these figures.

Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "Costs of living with SCI," accessed May 18, 2017

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