Essay On Spina bifida

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Spina bifida

Spina bifida is caused by the malformation of the spinal cord. The disease is also called neural tube defect. The condition can be sever or mild. The mild spina bifida is common than the sever one. This condition is less serious, and there is little medical attention needed. The defects caused by mild spina bifida are not easily noticeable. Furthermore, patient’s with mild spina bifida may not know they have the condition until a back X-ray is taken.

There are three types of spina bifida. These types include; spina bifida occulta, spina bifida meningocele and myelonongocele. Spina bifida occulta is a mild condition where fewer vertebras are malfunctioned. Patients with these conditions rarely get disabilities or symptoms. The malformation of the vertebrae is hidden within the skin. Consequently, spina bifida meningocele entails various deformities in the vertebrae. This condition shows various malformations present in the patient’s spinal cord such as; fat, meninges or bone. This condition can cause incomplete paralysis with bowel and urinary dysfunction. However, in most cases, the condition shows few or no symptoms (Pyeritz, Rimoin, Korf & Emery, 2013).

On the other hand, myelomeningocele is a more severe condition where the spinal cord contents are exposed from the opening in the spine. This results into complete or partial paralysis of the body parts below the opening in the spine. This condition can lead to serious defects such as inability to walk, bowel and bladder dysfunction (Watson, 2009).

Causes of spina bifida

Spina bifida can be caused by lifestyle habits and other risk factors. Folic acid is a common cause of spina bifida. Lack of enough levels of folic acid in pregnant mothers can lead to spina bifida condition present in the child born. Folic acid is present in some foods naturally, and it can also be supplemented to foods from pharmacies. In addition, family history can also lead to the condition. Having a family member with spina bifida increases the risk of one getting the condition. Moreover, if one of your children has the condition there is an increased risk of the other children developing the condition (Watson, 2009).

Consequently, some medications can also lead to spina bifida. Medications such as valpoate, carbamazepine and lamotrigine increase the risk of developing spina bifida or other birth defects. Similarly, expectant women who have obesity have higher chances of getting children with spina bifida. The more obese parents are, the more severe the risk of getting a child with the condition increases. Diabetes can also lead to spina bifida. This occurs because diabetes leads to overproduction of glucose, present in the blood, which interferes with the child’s development (Pyeritz, Rimoin, Korf & Emery, 2013).

The symptoms for spina bifida include numbness present in the legs, arms or feet. Thus, children with this condition become unable to move. Further, the condition presents with bowel and bladder symptoms. These symptoms include leakage of urine or constipation. Moreover, other symptoms are hydrocephalus; this is fluid buildup present in the brain. Hydrocephalus can lead to seizures, vision and learning problems. In addition, the condition entails a curve in the spine. For instance, the condition can start as scoliosis.

Spina bifida can present with signs such as abnormal tufts or clumps of hair on the skin at the location of the spinal deformity. Further, in severe spina bifida signs and symtoms such as a visible fluid-filled sack developing from the spinal canal. In myelomeningocele, the fluid-filled sack appears with no skin layer covering the sac. In comparison, patients with meningocele present with a visible fluid-filled sac that is covered with a thin skin layer.

Spina bifida can be treated by the prenatal repair therapy. Spina bifida has been traditionally treated by surgery, which takes place in less than two days after birth. However, prenatal repair that entails treatment of the condition earlier, while the child is still in the uterus. This minimizes the chances of the child getting neurologic damage. Prenatal spinal bifida repair has been tried successfully on pregnant mothers. During this treatment, the mother is given anesthesia to relax the uterus and also anesthetize the fetus. After this procedure, the surgeons perform a laparotomy to put the child into a better view position. Pediatric neurosurgeons then remove the fluid-filled sack, and they close the baby’s skin over the spinal cord defects. The mother is then taken under special hospital care to reduce preterm labor risks. If the labor stages do not occur, cesarean section is performed on the mother (Pyeritz, Rimoin, Korf & Emery, 2013).

Moreover, parents who do not opt for the prenatal repair, they can choose a postnatal follow-up for the baby. Postnatal repair entails a pregnancy observation, and the baby is delivered through cesarean delivery. After delivery, the baby undergoes surgery to remove the fluid-filled sac and cover the spinal canal contents with the skin. The surgery is undertaken within two days after conception (Ö̈zek, Cinalli & Maixner, 2008).

Further medical intervention is also present for spina bifida patients. A long-term spina bifida program entails follow-ups and checkups for the baby from the surgery to adolescent period. This involves the collaborative help of nurses, physical therapists, social workers pediatricians, neurosurgeons, urologists, genetic counselors and orthopaedists (Ö̈zek, Cinalli & Maixner, 2008).
Moreover, healthy practices before pregnancy for mothers who have spina bifida and those who have other children with spina bifida are advised to take more folic acid. Lack of folic acid increases the sereneness of the spina bifida condition. Furthermore, children with spina bifida are mostly less active in the social environment due to their condition. Thus, assistive devices and educational interventions are helpful in these cases (Watson, 2009).

Pyeritz, R. E., Rimoin, D. L., Korf, B. R., & Emery, A. E. H. (2013). Emery and Rimoin's principles and practice of medical genetics. San Diego: Elsevier Science.
Watson, S. (2009). Spina bifida. New York, NY: Rosen Pub.
Ö̈zek, M. M., Cinalli, G., & Maixner, W. J. (2008). Spina bifida: Management and outcome. Milan: Springer.