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My cousin told me that quadriplegia is also known as tetraplegia. He has it, and he developed heart complications. It happened when his spinal cord was injured above the level of the fifth cervical vertebrae. Now I wonder if that is common problem in quadriplegic patient, or he has more problems beside this. Can you tell me more about it?

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What your quadriplegic cousin experienced is normal, especially when place of injury is fifth cervical vertebrae. You should understand that when quadriplegia occurs, it is characterized by a decrease in the normal level of tension that exists in muscles of the arms and legs. There is also a loss of power and sensation below the area of the spinal cord injury, wherever it happens. Many people with quadriplegia die of breathing failure because voluntary control over these organs that are necessary to breathe is dramatically impaired. That is why, it is crucial for health care providers to make sure that someone with quadriplegia can breathe properly. To help people with quadriplegia breathe properly, they may need a machine known as a respirator. The reason for this is that the spinal cord injury causes connections to become interrupted between the spinal cord and the sympathetic nervous system. This system generally excites the body by doing things such as increasing both the heart rate and blood pressure. Beside this, a life threatening condition known as autonomic dysreflexia can be caused by interruptions between the connections of the spine to both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, in case of quadriplegia.
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