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paraplegia

paraplegia (pâr´əplē´jēə), paralysis of the lower part of the body, commonly affecting both legs and often internal organs below the waist. When both legs and arms are affected, the condition is called quadriplegia. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are caused by an injury or disease that damages the spinal cord, and consequently always affects both sides of the body. The extent of the paralysis depends on the level of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs. For example, damage to the lowest area of the cord may result only in paralysis of the legs, whereas damage farther up on the cord causes possible loss of control over the muscles of the bladder and rectum as well or, if occurring even higher, may result in paralysis of all four limbs and loss of control over the muscles involved in breathing.

Most frequently the cause is an injury that either completely severs the spinal cord or damages some of the nervous tissue in the cord. Such damage could result from broken vertebrae that press against the cord. Diseases that cause paraplegia or quadriplegia include spinal tuberculosis, syphilis, spinal tumors, multiple sclerosis, and poliomyelitis. Sometimes when the disease is treated and cured, the paralysis disappears, but usually the nerve damage is irreparable and paralysis is permanent. Treatment of paraplegia and quadriplegia is aimed at helping to compensate for the paralysis by means of mechanical devices and through psychological and physical therapy.

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paraplegia

par·a·ple·gi·a / ˌparəˈplēj(ē)ə/ • n. paralysis of the legs and lower body, typically caused by spinal injury or disease. DERIVATIVES: par·a·ple·gic / -jik/ adj. & n.

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paraplegia

paraplegia (pa-ră-plee-jiă) n. paralysis of both legs, usually due to disease or injury of the spinal cord. It is often accompanied by loss of sensation below the level of the injury and disturbed bladder function.
paraplegic adj., n.

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paraplegia

paraplegia Paralysis of both legs. It is usually due to spinal cord injury, and often accompanied by loss of sensation below the site of the damage.

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paraplegia

paraplegia partial paralysis. XVII. — Gr. paraplēgíā, f. paraplḗssein, f. PARA-1 + plḗssein strike; see -IA1.

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paraplegia

paraplegiabadger, cadger •Alger, neuralgia •ganja, grandeur, phalanger •charger, enlarger, maharaja, raja •slàinte • turbocharger •dredger, edger, hedger, ledger, pledger, St Leger •avenger, revenger •gauger, golden-ager, major, old-stager, pager, rampager, sergeant major, stager, wager •arranger, changer, danger, endanger, exchanger, Grainger, hydrangea, manger, ranger, stranger •moneychanger • teenager •bushranger •besieger, paraplegia, procedure •abridger •cringer, ginger, impinger, infringer, injure, ninja, whinger, winger •dowager • voyager • harbinger •bondager • wharfinger • packager •Scaliger •challenger, Salinger •pillager, villager •armiger • scrimmager •rummager, scrummager •manager • derringer • forager •porringer • encourager •Massinger, passenger •presager • messenger • Kissinger •integer, vintager •cottager • frontager • ravager •salvager • scavenger •Elijah, Niger, obliger •codger, dodger, lodger, roger, todger •forger, Georgia, gorger •gouger •lounger, scrounger •sunlounger • soldier •Abuja, puja

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