Health Behaviors and Outcomes: A Comparison between African-Americans with Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and in the General Population in South Carolina The Importance of this Study Of persons in the United States (US) who have a spinal cord injury (SCI), around 25% are African‐American, and, of all persons who have a trauma c brain injury (TBI) in the US, African Americans account for about 20% . These numbers are large in com‐ parison to only 13.1% of the US popula on being African American. So far, li le re‐ search has been done on preventa ve behaviors, risk behaviors, and chronic disease presence a er SCIs or TBIs. Of the research done, li le to none has focused on un‐ derserved racial‐ethnic popula ons, such as African Americans. This research is important because African Americans, in general, are at a greater risk for developing many diseases in comparison to other racial‐ethnic groups. This research can inform healthcare professionals of the needs of African Americans with SCI or TBI in terms of preventa ve behaviors, risk behaviors, and chronic disease screening and management.
Meet our Student Researchers
Inside this issue: Reason for this Study
Meet our Student Researchers
Preventa ve Behaviors
LONGEVITY AFTER INJURY PROJECT College of Health Professions 77 President St. MSC 700 Charleston, SC 29425 Phone: (843) 792‐2605
Ene P. Ekoja
During the summer of 2012, Ene worked with our team on this study and helped iden fy the prevalence of protec ve health behaviors (ac ons that decrease the likeli‐ hood of ge ng sick) among African Americans with an SCI. She is cur‐ rently a senior at Spelman College where she is pur‐ suing a degree in Biology.
Ka e interned with our team during the summer of 2013. For this study, Ka e looked at chronic diseases in African Ameri‐ cans a er an SCI or TBI. She also developed this fact sheet with the study results. Ka e is a senior at Brown University, where she will a ain a degree in Community Health.
For the summer of 2012, Chelsea joined our team. She worked on this study, finding out if Afri‐ can Americans with an SCI are more likely to report risk behaviors (ac ons that increase the likelihood) for chronic diseases. Chelsea is cur‐ rently a junior at Spel‐ man College, pursuing a degree in Sociology.
Read more about our students online at: h p://academicdepartments.musc.edu/chp/longevity_a er_injury/funded_projects/rrtc/s tudent_accomplishments.htm
Preventative Behaviors A person’s health depends a lot on their behaviors, ac ons, and life choices. People can choose to en‐ gage in preventa ve behaviors (ac ons that decrease one’s likelihood of ge ng sick) or risk behaviors (ac ons that increase one’s likelihood of ge ng sick). We will first look at the preventa ve behaviors. Research has shown that people with an SCI are more likely to get health complica ons (known as sec‐ ondary health condi ons), such as respiratory complica ons, pressure sores, and urinary tract infec‐ ons. Due to the increased likelihood of developing secondary health condi ons, we wanted to see if African Americans with an SCI engaged in more protec ve behaviors than African Americans in the general popula on.
We studied the preventa ve behaviors of ge ng a flu shot, a pneumonia shot, and/or a blood choles‐ terol screening because vaccines can help decrease your chance of catching a sickness and blood cho‐ lesterol screenings help to let you know if you are at risk of becoming sick in the future with heart or blood circula on problems. In the above graphs, we found :
African Americans with SCI were more likely to get vaccines African Americans with SCI were less likely to get their blood cholesterol level checked This shows that African Americans with an SCI were more likely to participate in protective behaviors related to SCI secondary conditions (like getting a vaccine to prevent respiratory complications), but less likely to engage in protective behaviors not related to SCI secondary conditions (like getting cho‐ lesterol checked to identify the risk of heart disease). Page 2
Risk Behaviors We will now look at risk behaviors, which are the actions that increase one’s likelihood of becoming sick. Due to the increased likelihood of developing secondary health condi ons, we wanted to see if African Americans with SCI smoked more cigarettes, drank more alcohol, and engaged in more risky health behaviors than African Americans in the general population. Smoking cigare es increases your chance of ge ng cancer in your lungs. Drinking too much alcohol either once or on many occasions can cause nega ve health eﬀects in several organs in the body. Both of these risk behaviors can lead to nega ve long‐term health diseases and eventually even death.
African Americans with an SCI were more likely to report smoking cigare es
African Americans with an SCI were less likely to try to quit smoking cigare es (decreasing one’s risk behaviors)
African Americans with an SCI were more likely to report con‐ suming alcohol in the past 30 days
African Americans with an SCI were more likely to binge drink (increasing one’s risk behaviors)
*Only among those who reported smoking every day or some days **Only among those who reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days
As seen in the graphs, African Americans with an SCI were more likely to engage in risk behaviors than African Americans in the general population. These results show that African Americans with an SCI may be less likely to engage in behaviors to decrease their risk behaviors and more likely to engage in behaviors that increase their risk behaviors, which can put them at risk for negative health outcomes. Page 3
Chronic Diseases: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Stroke
African Americans with an SCI are about 2.5 times more likely to report having had a stroke compared to the general African American pop‐ ulation.
African Americans with TBI are about 6.5 times more likely to report having had a stroke.
Coronary Heart Disease
African Americans with TBI are about 3 times more likely to report having been told by a healthcare pro‐ vider that they have coronary heart disease
African Americans with TBI are about 2 times more likely to report having been told by a healthcare provider that they have hypertension
Thank You! Thank you so much for your par cipa on in this important study! We had an overwhelming 497 par ci‐ pants! This study’s success could not have been achieved without the par cipa on of each one of you. Informa on from this study will be used to inform health care professionals as well as public policy. You can keep up with our study informa on and our day‐to‐day ac vi es by visi ng: Website: www.longevitya erinjury.com Blog: www.sciandtbi.blogspot.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/longevitya erinjuryproject Page 4