So the month of October serves as many different health awareness observances such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Spina Bifida Awareness Month (promoted by the Spina Bifida Association), Domestic Violence as well as other health observances. The week of October 25th through October 31st is observed as Epidermolysis Bullosa Week. The latter I will discuss next week as that is a disorder that I’m personally familiar with!

As many are more familiar with the more popular topics such as breast cancer and domestic violence, I tend to favor discussing medical topics that are not that popular or of familiarity, so this week I’d like to focus on spina bifida.

what_is_spina_bifida_image_2Spina bifida is a birth defect of the neural tubes (the structure that is present early in the embryonic life), resulting in incomplete formation of the brain, spinal cord and/or meninges. In other words, while a baby is in the mother’s womb, it means the infant suffers an ‘incomplete’ closure of the spine column. Though the exact cause of spina bifida is unknown, scientists suspect that a deficiency in folic acid in the mother’s diet has been linked to its development. There is no cure for spina bifida and treatment depends on the type and severity of the disorder. Some may not need treatment at all.

Children who suffer with spina bifida can grow to adulthood and live healthy, active lives. Again, depending upon the severity, some may use assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches or braces.

To help prevent spina bifida, it is so very important that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid supplements daily, along with eating foods high in folic acid such as dark green vegetables, fruits, and egg yolks and to especially seek complete prenatal care at the onset of expectancy!

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