Photograph of Roman Dinkel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbyMWr6bUwg
The little boy who inspired Better Backs to spread awareness of Spina Bifida.
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina Bifida is a relatively common birth defect that affects the spine. Spina Bifida literally means “split spine”, meaning that the cells which form the brain and spinal cord do not close all the way. This may cause physical and mental issues.
Spina Bifida can range from mild to severe. It will all depend on where the defect is located, how big it is, the type of defect and whether there are any other complications with it.
Why does Spina Bifida happen? The cause of Spina Bifida is mostly unknown, but doctors have identified some risk factors.
Folate is the natural form of Vitamin B9 and vital for normal development of the nervous system and preventing defects in the spine and back. Normally, doctors would recommend taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy to prevent Spina Bifida.
Some medication (such as anti-seizure medication) may cause Spina Bifida, when taken during pregnancy. The medication is thought to affect the use of folate and folic acid, which may cause problems during the formation of the spinal cord, which leads to Spina Bifida birth defects.
Obesity and Diabetes:
Obesity and diabetes are associated with higher risks of developing Spina Bifida. The cause of this is related to high and poorly controlled sugar levels which will affect the developing baby.
Complications of Spina Bifida:
Symptoms of Spina Bifida ranges from moderate to severe. This is determined by:
Spina Bifida can affect walking and movement of the legs if the problem is below the area where the spinal cord defect is situated. It can sometimes cause weakness in the legs or, if very severe, may even cause paralysis. If the defect occurs low down in the spine, it can also lead to bladder and bowel problems. Other complications may include fluid build up in the brain, meningitis infection of the tissues surrounding the brain or a tethered spinal cord during growth.
Spina Bifida can sometimes be treated and corrected through surgery. The success of the surgery will depend on the defect, it’s size and whether or not it is covered by a layer of skin. During pregnancy, it is recommended to have a diet that supports folate and folic acid. Some doctors will recommend taking folic acid supplements for the first month prior to pregnancy and for the first trimester to reduce the risk of Spina Bifida.
Eating healthy foods such as beans, peas, citrus fruits, egg yolks, avocados, broccoli, and spinach will help prevent a variety of birth defects and not just Spina Bifida. Always check with your doctor before taking additional folic acid supplements with your food.
After having over a decade of experience as a Chiropractor, Dr Young has gained much knowledge through her interaction with patients and post-graduate learning course. As she uncovers new and exciting developments in the alternative healthcare field, she loves to share her passion and knowledge with her readers.