Spinal cord injury (SCI) substantially increases the risk of neurogenic obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Much like in the general population, a discussion of these syndromes in SCI would be incomplete without acknowledging the association of SCI with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). This article will outline the interplay between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), discussing the pathophysiology of obesity in OSA both for the general population and SCI population. The role of insulin resistance in SDB and SCI will also be examined. The epidemiology and pathophysiology of OSA and central sleep apnea in SCI are discussed through an examination of current evidence, followed by a review of central sleep apnea in SCI. Principles of diagnosis and management of SDB will also be discussed. Because sleep deprivation in itself can be a risk factor for developing obesity, the significance of comorbid insomnia in SCI is explored. Ultimately, a thorough sleep history, testing, and treatment are key to improving the sleep of individuals with SCI and to potentially reducing the impact of neurogenic obesity and metabolic syndrome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology