Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

The Model System Knowledge and Translation Center (MSKTC) is a national center that helps facilitate the knowledge translation process to make research meaningful to those with Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Burn Injury.

Your respiratory system (or pulmonary system) is responsible for breathing. This system enables you to inhale oxygen into your blood and exhale carbon dioxide. Your body needs oxygen to survive, and carbon dioxide must be removed to avoid the build-up of acid in your body.

After an SCI, signals sent from your brain can no longer pass beyond the damage to the spinal cord, so your brain can no longer control the muscles that you would normally use for inhaling and exhaling. The extent of your muscle control loss depends on your level of injury and if there is complete or incomplete spinal cord damage. There are some things that we can do to help prevent respiratory-related illness.

The MSKTC factsheet outlines some of the following as tips for prevention:

  • Do not smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke!
  • Avoid the buildup of secretions in the lungs.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, especially if you have an infection unless your doctor tells you something different.
  • Keep a healthy weight! People who are overweight or obese typically have more problems with their lungs.
  • Watch – Even with your best efforts to prevent respiratory health problems, they can still develop. The sooner you can identify any problems, the better your chance of treating them and getting better.

For more detailed information, please visit MSKTC at

About the author

Leave a Reply