Connect with us

Bones / Orthopedics

Potassium: What to know

Published

on

Potassium is one of 7 important macrominerals. To help key processes the human body needs at least 100 milligrams of potassium per day.

A high consumption of potassium decreases the overall mortality risk by 20 percent. It also decreases the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, protects against muscle mass loss, maintains bone mineral density and prevents kidney stone formation.

Potassium’s primary functions in the body include regulating the fluid balance and monitoring heart and other muscle electrical activity.

This Nccmed Knowledge Center article offers an in-depth look at the recommended intake of potassium, its possible health benefits, reliable potassium sources, the consequences of eating too much or too little potassium and any potential health risks associated with potassium consumption.

Fast facts on potassium

  • Adults should be consuming 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day. However, fewer than two percent of people in the U.S. consume enough potassium.
  • Potassium supports blood pressure, cardiovascular health, bone strength, and muscle strength.
  • Beet greens, white beans, soy beans, and lima beans are the foods highest in potassium.
  • Potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, and constipation. It can escalate to paralysis, respiratory failure, and painful gut obstructions.
  • Hyperkalemia means that there is too much potassium in the blood, and this can also impact health.
  • Potassium is available in supplements, but dietary sources are most healthful.

Recommended intake

Potassium element
Potassium is a crucial nutrient, and a very small percent of people in the U.S. consume enough.

For adults the prescription for Adequate Intake for potassium is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day. The advice is not met by most adults.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has revealed that less than two percent of people in the U.S. met the regular requirement of 4,700-mg potassium. Women usually eat less potassium than men.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 3,510 mg daily intake, and acknowledges that this recommendation is not met by most of the global population.

Potassium supplement is available. The best way to get some vitamin or mineral through food though. The combined efforts of a variety of nutrients are not individual vitamins or minerals that make certain foods essential for a healthy living.

Benefits

Potassium has proven benefits for the health.

There is an electrolyte that counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain blood pressure stable. Potassium is also essential for maintaining acid and baseline balance in the body. Bases are alkalis that have not yet dissolved in water.

Blood pressure and cardiovascular health

Low intakes of potassium have been related consistently to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Maintaining a low sodium intake is necessary for reducing blood pressure, but maintaining sufficient potassium intake can be equally critical.

An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium is crucial to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For one study, people who ate 4,069 mg of potassium a day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease relative to those who ate only 1,000 mg a day.

Bone and muscle maintenance

Potassium-rich foods, unlike in acidosis, maintain an alkaline state within the body. A diet full of acidifying foods such as meat, dairy products and refined cereal grains causes metabolic acidosis. Acidosis is a natural consequence of Western usually acidic diet.

Acidosis can cause excretion of nitrogen, loss of mineral density in the bone and muscle wastage. A diet rich in potassium can help maintain muscle mass in older people, as well as under circumstances that appear to contribute to muscle wastage, such as ketosis in diabetics. But a proper intake of potassium will help avoid this.

One research showed that people consuming 5,266 milligrams of potassium a day retained an average of 3.6 more pounds of lean tissue mass compared to those with a 50 percent lower potassium intake. Some reports also indicate bone density increases with a high intake of potassium.

Foods high in potassium

Cooked white beans
White beans are among the most potassium-rich foods, as are many other types of bean.

Potassium is found in many unprocessed and whole foods.

Fresh leafy greens, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, and beans are among the best sources of potassium. The processing greatly decreases the amount of potassium in the diet. A diet rich in processed foods possibly has low potassium content.

There are also many processed foods which are high in sodium. Increased potassium is needed to cancel the effect of sodium on blood pressure as sodium intake increases.

Here is a table showing the nutritional benefits by one cup of the most potassium-rich foods .

Food type (1 cup)Amount of potassium provided in milligrams (mg)
Cooked, boiled, or drained beet greens, without salt1,309
Canned white beans1,189
Cooked, boiled, or drained soy beans, without salt970
Cooked, boiled, or drained lima beans, without salt969
Baked sweet potato950
Sliced avocado708
Cooked, boiled, or drained mushrooms, without salt555
Sliced banana537
Red, ripe, raw tomatoes427
Raw cantaloupe melon417

Eating one high-potassium fruit or vegetable with each meal is a safe way to reduce the harmful effects of high-sodium meals.

Beyond this list there are several other sources of potassium. Make sure to use the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database to test the potassium content of your chosen foods.

Deficiency

Tired man
Fatigue is a symptom of potassium deficiency.

Lack of potassium can cause a variety of symptoms and health problems. It’s also called hypokalemia.

A normal potassium level is described as in the range of 3.5 to 5.0 mmol / L per liter.

This is diagnosed with hypokalemia when potassium levels fall below 3.5 mmol / L. In general, moderate potassium deficiency does not pose symptoms. A potassium level below 2.5 mmol / L is known to be severely deficient, with symptoms becoming more intense as the levels decrease.

The low potassium Symptoms include:

  • malaise and fatigue
  • weakness and muscle pain all over the body
  • constipation

Extremely low potassium levels can cause:

  • severe muscle weakness and paralysis
  • respiratory failure
  • painful obstructions in the gut
  • tingling, crawling, numb, or itchy sensations main felt in the hands, feet, legs, or arms
  • intermittent muscle spasms

Low potassium can be diagnosed using simple blood tests and treated with dietary changes, including supplements. Getting daily medicines and health tests will also help a person monitor their potassium levels and avoid possible deficiencies.

Risks

Potassium also can cause health problems when a person consumes more than the recommended Adequate Intake of 4,700 mg.

Individuals with good functioning of the kidney will effectively rid the body of excess potassium in the urine. There are usually no adverse side effects to this process.

A limited number of studies have been published associating potassium toxicity with an exceptionally high intake of potassium supplements. No potassium toxicity linked to food has ever been documented.

Hyperkalemia

Too much potassium intake can be dangerous to people whose kidneys are not completely functioning. Excessive intake of potassium can lead to hyperkalemia, in which the kidneys can not extract adequate potassium from the body. This can be dangerous if the situation is rapidly escalating.

Potassium levels between 5.1 and 6.0 mmol/L are considered high, so monitoring so management require. Niveaus above 6.0 mmol / L are harmful.

Mostly hyperkalemia can either be without symptoms or show very few symptoms. However, they are similar to those that occur in hypokalemia when symptoms do appear.

Severe or unexpected hyperkalemia may cause palpitations in the heart, shortness of breath and pain in the chest. Hyperkalemia may become a life-threatening condition at this point which needs urgent medical care.

Reducing potassium intake

Hyperkalemia is treated by reducing potassium intake.

Potassium and sodium are a part of the body’s daily balancing act. Holding this balance is vital to the smooth functioning of body systems.

When suspected of hyperkalemia, it is best to avoid high-potassium products, such as the ones mentioned above. Even not to eat salt substitutes, herbal treatments, or supplements. It can all raise the levels of potassium, rather than balance them.

Two cases of cardiac arrest were related to high potassium levels. If the kidneys can not extract excess potassium from the blood, potassium may have lethal effects on the heart.

Takeaway

Potassium is essential to the functioning of the body but does not hold the answers to healthy living by itself. Overall eating habits and dietary balance are most critical for improving health and holding disease at bay.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

two × 5 =

Bones / Orthopedics

Things to understand about the shoulder

Published

on

The shoulder is a complex upper-body structure that connects the arms to the torso. It is made up of a number of parts that work together to offer stability and a wide range of motion.

The shoulder is a huge and complicated ball-and-socket joint with several bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These structures work together to construct and support this very flexible joint, which allows the arms to move freely. However, because of this mobility, the shoulder can be damaged by overuse, instability, or injury.

The anatomy, function, and structures of the shoulder will be discussed in this article.

Overview

Shoulder

Because of the variety of structures that make up the shoulder, it is a complex part of the body that can move freely. The shoulder includes the body’s most mobile joint, allowing for a high range of motion but at the sacrifice of stability. It’s prone to getting hurt.

Three primary bones meet at the shoulder to form a 90-degree angle. The pectoral girdle is made up of two of these bones: the clavicle and scapula. The collarbone and shoulder blade are the common names for these bones. The humerus, which is the biggest bone in the arm, is the third bone.

The glenohumeral, acromioclavicular, and sternoclavicular joints are formed by the intersection of these bones and the sternum, or chest bone. The great range of motion of the shoulder is due to these joints.

The joints are subsequently surrounded by cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, which unite the bones and provide stability. Muscles also enable movement.

Anatomy

Shoulder anatomy

Functions

The primary purpose of the shoulder is to offer a wide range of motion for the arms. People who can raise, lower, and rotate their arms can accomplish a variety of actions, including tossing and reaching, as well as athletic movements like swimming.

The shoulder’s bones and joints

The shoulder is made up of three bones. These are the following:

  • The clavicle: This bone, also called the collarbone, connects the arm to the chest and is located in front of the scapula. It is connected to the arm, the neck, and the chest through a number of muscles.
  • The scapula: The shoulder blade is also known as the scapula. It’s triangular in shape. It primarily adheres to the body through muscle and “floats” off the rear of the chest. The acromion, a bony component of the scapula, connects it to the clavicle. On the scapula, the glenoid is a shallow socket.
  • The humerus: The humerus is the bone in the upper arm. Between the elbow and the shoulder is a lengthy bone called the humerus. At the top of the arm, the humerus bears a spherical part that acts as a “ball” for the scapula’s “socket.”

The shoulder is made up of three joints. These are some of them:

  • The glenohumeral joint: A ball-and-socket joint is what this joint is. It is the joint that links the humerus to the scapula. It is the body’s most movable joint. The shoulder can move in various planes, including arm rotation and moving the arm up and away from the body, thanks to the joint.
  • The acromioclavicular joint: The clavicle is joined to the scapula by this. The clavicle joins to the scapula by a bone component known as the acromion. The shoulder is stabilized by this joint, which also aids movement such as elevating the shoulders.
  • The sternoclavicular joint: The clavicle is connected to the sternum by this. The sternum is the flat bone in the center of the chest, often known as the breastbone. The clavicles can move thanks to the joint.

Muscles of the shoulder

Extrinsic and intrinsic muscles make up the shoulder. Extrinsic muscles come from the torso and attach to the shoulder’s bones, whereas intrinsic muscles come from the scapula or clavicle and attach to the humerus.

The following muscles make up the intrinsic muscles of the shoulder:

  • The deltoid: The deltoid is a triangular-shaped muscle on the outside of the shoulder. It connects the clavicle to the scapula. The deltoid muscle permits you to move your arm forwards, backwards, sideways, and away from your body. It also helps to keep the shoulder stable while carrying and lifting.
  • Teres major: The scapula gives rise to this muscle, which joins to the humerus. Internal rotation of the arm is possible because to Teres major.
  • Supraspinatus: This muscle originates from the scapula and attaches to the humerus. It helps to support the glenohumeral joint and allows the arm to move out from the body.
  • Infraspinatus: The scapula gives rise to this muscle, which joins to the humerus. It turns the arm externally and stabilizes the glenohumeral joint.
  • Teres minor: The teres minor stems from the scapula and connects to the humerus. It rotates the arm laterally while also stabilizing the glenohumeral joint.
  • Subscapularis: The scapula gives rise to this muscle, which joins to the humerus. It permits the arm to rotate towards the body while also stabilizing the glenohumeral joint.

The rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles. All of them come from the scapula and connect to the humerus. These muscles work together to raise and rotate the arm.

The following muscles make up the extrinsic muscles of the shoulder:

  • The trapezius: The trapezius is a muscle that runs from the base of the head to the clavicle and scapula. The scapula is raised.
  • Latissimus dorsi: The humerus bone is attached to this muscle, which originates in the lower spine. It assists with pull-ups and rowing exercises by bringing the arm backwards and towards the torso.
  • Levator scapulae: This is a long, narrow muscle that aids in scapula elevation. It also aids in glenoid cavity rotation, spine stabilization, and neck extension and lateral flexion.
  • Rhomboid major and rhomboid minor: The rhomboid muscles help rotate the glenoid cavity by stabilizing the scapula and maintaining it in place.

Common conditions

While the shoulder is incredibly mobile, its suppleness leaves it vulnerable to injury and instability. These injuries can limit your range of motion and cause shoulder pain. The following are some of the most prevalent shoulder ailments:

Rotator cuff injuries

Trauma to any of the muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff is referred to as a rotator cuff injury. The following are some of the most common rotator cuff issues:

  • Tears: When a tendon is torn, it no longer fully adheres to the bone, which is a common injury. Injury and age-related deterioration are the most common causes of rotator cuff tears. While treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition, it usually include rest, pain medication, and rehabilitation activities. Surgery may be required in more severe situations.
  • Bursitis: The bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and protect tissues by decreasing friction, is inflamed. The bursa can be irritated and inflamed by infections or too much friction from repetitive movements or injuries. Antibiotics, rest, corticosteroid injections, and surgery may be used as treatment options in more severe cases.
  • Tendinitis: This is an inflammation of the tendons that might cause it difficult to lift the arms. It usually happens as a result of tendons irritation or damage caused by sports or repetitive overhead movements. It’s also known as a shoulder impingement by certain people. Rest, physical therapy, and injections are common treatments, but if these don’t work, surgery may be required.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become inflamed. The cartilage in people with arthritis is destroyed, and the joint no longer has a smooth surface.

Arthritis can cause pain, decreased range of motion, and a clicking sounds in the shoulder joints, especially the acromioclavicular and glenohumeral joints.

The following are examples of arthritis that can affect the shoulder:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • avascular necrosis
  • osteoarthritis
  • rotator cuff tear arthropathy
  • post-traumatic arthritis

Treatment will vary depending on the type and severity of the arthritis, but it will usually start with nonsurgical options including rest, physical therapy, and pain relievers. When these methods fail or the pain becomes incapacitating, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Fracture

Broken bones are also known as fractures. As a result, a shoulder fracture develops when the scapula, clavicle, or head of the humerus breaks. Fractures can occur as a result of:

  • car accidents
  • collisions
  • falls

Shoulder fractures can often be treated without surgery by a doctor. This usually entails wearing a sling to immobilize the shoulder and allowing it to heal. However, if the bone is entirely out of place, surgery may be required. This usually entails placing plates, screws, or rods inside the bone to stabilize the fracture.

Dislocation

When the humerus comes partially or completely out of the glenoid, it is referred to as a shoulder dislocation. The shoulder is the most often displaced joint due to its mobility, with forward, or anterior, dislocations accounting for roughly 97 percent of all occurrences.

A doctor will most likely conduct a closed reduction to repair a shoulder dislocation. This is a process in which the humerus is reinserted into the joint socket. After that, a doctor may recommend resting or immobilizing the shoulder before beginning rehabilitation exercises once the pain and swelling have subsided.

A dislocation can sometimes be so severe that it necessitates surgery. If the shoulder becomes unstable following a dislocation, surgery may be required to prevent recurrent dislocations.

Shoulder health advice

The following steps can be taken to ensure that a person’s shoulder is healthy and has a decent range of motion:

  • before exercising, make sure you extend your shoulder muscles properly
  • when working or playing sports, avoid overusing the shoulder muscles
  • using an exercise program to strengthen the shoulder muscles
  • shoulder pain should not be ignored, and if the pain persists, a doctor should be consulted
  • attempting to stay away from activities that could result in a fall or accident

Conclusion

The shoulder is a complex structure with numerous bones, muscles, and tendons. These components come together to form a movable joint that allows the arms to move freely.

The shoulder, however, is prone to instability and injury since it is a mobile joint that many people utilize regularly. Rotator cuff injuries, shoulder arthritis, fractures, and dislocations can all cause pain and interfere with shoulder function. Treatment, rest, stretching, and exercising as soon as possible might assist to strengthen the shoulder and speed up healing.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459125/
  • https://www.assh.org/handcare/blog/anatomy-101-shoulder-bones
  • https://www.training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/skeletal/divisions/appendicular.html
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/arthritis-of-the-shoulder
  • https://www.assh.org/handcare/safety/bones
  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/bursitis/advanced#tab-overview
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537018/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537258/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/parts-of-the-shoulder
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536933/
  • https://www.training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/muscular/groups/upper.html
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/rotator-cuff-and-shoulder-conditioning-program/
  • https://medlineplus.gov/rotatorcuffinjuries.html
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/rotator-cuff-tears/
  • https://ota.org/for-patients/find-info-body-part/3832
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-impingementrotator-cuff-tendinitis/
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-pain-and-common-shoulder-problems/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499858/

Continue Reading

Bones / Orthopedics

Secondary osteoarthritis: What is it?

Published

on

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis in which joint cartilage breaks down. There is no known cause of primary OA. Secondary OA, on the other hand, develops as a result of a pre-existing medical condition, joint injury, or abnormality.

Although primary and secondary OA are the same condition, they are caused by different causes.

OA can affect any joint in the body, causing pain, stiffness, and a restricted range of motion.

The symptoms and causes of secondary OA are discussed in this article. We also talk about treatment choices and the outlook for people who have the condition.

What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is the most common type of arthritis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and it typically affects elderly people.

OA is a joint condition in which the cartilage in the joints breaks down. It can occur in every joint of the body, however it most commonly affects the:

  • lower back
  • knees
  • fingers
  • hips
  • neck

According to the NIAMS, OA symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • limited range of motion in the affected joint
  • a loose or unstable-feeling joint
  • swelling around the joint, which may worsen after activities that require using that joint
  • joint pain, which may get worse at night
  • stiff joints, which may occur after periods of rest or after sleeping

Primary vs. secondary OA

People with OA might have either primary or secondary OA. The symptoms of these illnesses are the same, but the causes are not.

There is no known cause of primary OA. Secondary OA, on the other hand, comes as a result of an existing medical condition, abnormalities, infection, or injury.

Causes

Secondary OA can be caused by a variety of causes, including:

  • hemoglobinopathies, which are conditions affecting red blood cells
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Marfan syndrome
  • inflammatory arthritis
  • an existing joint abnormality
  • injury or trauma to the joint
  • metabolic disorders
  • a joint condition present from birth
  • infectious arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • osteochondritis dissecans, where bone underneath joint cartilage dies due to a lack of blood supply
  • Paget’s disease
  • avascular necrosis, where bone tissue dies from a lack of blood supply

Treatment

Secondary OA treatment seeks to alleviate pain, reduce stiffness, and improve range of motion and joint function. It may also assist to keep the condition from worsening.

Among the treatment options are:

Exercise

According to research, combining aerobic and resistance activities can help reduce pain and enhance physical function.

Exercise can also assist to build muscle, enhance endurance, and increase flexibility. An OA workout regimen may include:

  • Stretching exercises can help you enhance your range of motion.
  • Strengthening muscles using weights or exercise bands, which then aids to support joints.
  • Exercising to increase balance and agility, which can assist people maintain daily activities
  • Exercise in water to alleviate joint tension, or engage in low-impact exercises such as walking, tai chi, or cycling.

People must avoid any activities that aggravate their symptoms or put additional strain on their joints.

Getting rid of excess weight

Losing additional weight can help alleviate joint tension.

In people with knee OA, decreasing one pound (lb) of body weight can ease four pounds of pressure on the knees.

Losing excess weight may also be beneficial:

  • slow down progression of OA and cartilage breakdown
  • decrease inflammation
  • relieve pain and improve physical function

Joint support

Braces, splints, and walking canes can assist stabilize joints and remove excess pressure.

Furthermore, if joints are misaligned, remedial equipment such as orthotics or knee braces may be beneficial.

Medications

Certain drugs may aid with pain relief and inflammation reduction. These could include:

  • Anti-inflammatory and pain relievers taken orally
  • To reduce pain, administer topical ointments to affected joints.
  • Corticosteroids are pain relievers that a doctor may inject into the joint.
  • Hyaluronic acid injections into the knee to promote joint lubrication are used to treat knee OA.
  • Long-term pain relief with oral selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Surgery

If other therapies are ineffective, a person is suffering from serious joint degeneration, or OA is interfering with a person’s daily life, surgery may be required.

An osteotomy is a surgical procedure in which a physician removes a portion of bone near the injured joint in order to redistribute weight away from that joint.

A partial or whole joint replacement is another surgical option for OA, depending on the level of joint deterioration. This entails removing a portion or all of the joint and replacing it with a synthetic joint composed of plastic, ceramic, or metal.

Risk factors

Secondary OA risk factors include:

  • having an abnormal joint structure or unusually aligned bones
  • having muscle weakness
  • being female
  • having a family member with OA
  • being over the age of 50 years
  • having had a bone fracture, ligament or cartilage tear, or other joint injury
  • overly using the same joints, which may happen as a result of certain occupations or sports
  • having obesity, as excess body weight can put extra stress on joints and increase inflammation

Outlook

The prognosis for OA varies from person to person and is determined by which joints are affected, the severity of symptoms, and level of physical function.

OA may be minor in some people, and they may be able to effectively manage their symptoms with treatment.

In other circumstances, people with OA may suffer from significant disability. For some people with severe OA, joint replacement surgery may be the best long-term option.

Conclusion

OA is a joint condition in which joint cartilage degrades, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the joints.

Secondary OA is caused by an existing condition, injury, or infection, whereas primary OA has no clear cause.

Treatment may help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent the condition from progressing.

Exercising, losing excess weight, using support equipment, and taking drugs are all possible treatment strategies. In some circumstances, surgery may be required to relieve joint stress or to replace a damaged joint.

Sources:

  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoarthritis/advanced
  • https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-secondary-osteoarthritis
  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/arthritis/osteoarthritis
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482326/
  • https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/weight-loss/weight-loss-benefits-for-arthritis

Continue Reading

Bones / Orthopedics

What you should know about babies born with spina bifida

Published

on

Spina bifida is a spine condition that is usually detected at birth by doctors. It is a neural tube abnormality that appears early in the development of a fetus and can occur anywhere along the spine.

The backbone, which normally protects the spine, does not form and seal properly in spina bifida. As a result, people with spina bifida frequently suffer from spinal cord and nerve damage.

Every year, around 1,500 babies in the United States are born with spina bifida. Although specialists are unaware of the exact causes of the condition, they advise females of childbearing age to ingest folic acid to lower the chance of neural tube defects.

This page discusses baby spine issues, such as spina bifida. It also discusses symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Infant spine problems

infant

The spine is made up of tiny bones called vertebrae that are piled on top of each other with discs in between. A healthy spine should have moderate bends from front to back to help absorb movement stress, but it should run straight down the center of the back.

Infants may have a variety of spine disorders that cause their back to twist or rotate. These are some examples:

  • lordosis, an excessive inward curve of the spine
  • spina bifida
  • scoliosis, an abnormal sideways spinal curve
  • kyphosis, an abnormal forward bending of the spine

The most frequent crippling congenital condition is spina bifida, which means “divided spine.” Doctors categorize the condition as a form of neural tube defect (NTD), in which the neural tube of a growing embryo does not develop or close as predicted. This causes nerve and spinal cord damage.

These complications appear throughout the first 28 days of pregnancy and may occur before a woman realizes she is pregnant.

Spina bifida is commonly referred to as the “snowflake condition” because no two cases are alike. Depending on the size and location of the incision, the condition might range from minor to severe.

Spina bifida is classified into three types:

  • Myelomeningocele: This is the most common and severe type of spina bifida. It is also known as spina bifida cystica. Some vertebrae do not form normally in babies with this condition and do not properly encase the spinal cord. As a result, some of the spinal cord, nerves, spinal fluid, and other tissues push through the spine, forming a sac on the baby’s back. An individual may suffer from moderate to severe handicap as a result of nerve involvement.
  • Meningocele: The baby with this kind of spina bifida has a bag bulging from the back. However, because the sac does not contain parts of the spinal cord and there is minimal nerve involvement, the individual may only endure modest problems.
  • Spina bifida occulta:  This is the least severe kind of spina bifida. Because there is merely a gap in the spine and no opening in the back, a person may be unaware that they have this problem. Babies that have spina bifida occulta may have a birthmark, dimple, or hair patch at the base of their spine.

Causes

Doctors are unsure what causes spina bifida. However, it appears to run in families, implying that genetics have a role in the condition.

Taking folic acid when pregnant lowers the chances of having a child with spina bifida. As a result, people who may get pregnant should take this B vitamin on a daily basis. Females of reproductive age should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms

Spina bifida symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition and may differ between individuals.

Myelomeningocele symptoms include:

  • bowel and bladder issues
  • paralysis
  • seizures
  • curved spine
  • open spine
  • a skin-covered sac protruding from the back
  • hydrocephalus
  • learning disabilities
  • physical disabilities

A person with a meningocele may have no symptoms other than the sac protruding through their back.

Individuals with spina bifida occulta may be unaware of their condition until late childhood or adulthood. It may not cause any symptoms and, in most cases, does not cause in disability.

Diagnosis

To detect spina bifida before birth, doctors can perform one of three tests:

  • A blood test: During weeks 16–18 of pregnancy, doctors can obtain a blood sample from a woman. The level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the sample is then measured in a laboratory. AFP is a protein produced by the unborn baby and passed to the mother. If the fetus develops spina bifida, around 80% of pregnant people have high levels of AFP.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound, often known as a sonogram, is a type of imaging that takes photos of the fetus in the uterus. Ultrasound is widely used by doctors to detect indications of spina bifida, such as an open spine.
  • Amniocentesis: This test involves extracting a little amount of fluid from the uterus using a fine needle. Doctors can examine the sample for AFP levels, which may suggest that the fetus has spina bifida.

Treatment

Spina bifida has no known cure. There are, however, various therapeutic options available for infants with spina bifida.

  • Myelomeningocele: In the case of open spina bifida, a surgeon can seal the hole before or after the infant is born.
  • Hydrocephalus:  If a newborn has hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, a surgeon can insert a tube to drain the fluid. This tube, also known as a shunt, aids in the relief of head pressure and related symptoms.
  • Tethered spinal cord:  The spinal cord adheres to the spinal canal in this condition, limiting proper movement. The spinal cord extends unnaturally as the kid grows. A surgeon can untether or detach the spinal cord from the surrounding tissue, allowing the patient to resume normal movement. Doctors anticipate that up to 50% of children who have surgery for spina bifida shortly after birth will need surgery to untether their spinal cord later on.
  • Catheterization:  Individuals with open spina bifida may have nerve damage that prohibits them from having normal bladder function. A doctor may advise the child’s carers to catheterize the bladder and enable it to drain completely. This is accomplished by putting a small plastic tube known as a catheter into the bladder many times per day. Children with spina bifida must be evaluated on a regular basis by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the urinary tract.

Furthermore, many people with spina bifida require mobility aids such as braces, crutches, or wheelchairs. Doctors may also advise patients to continue receiving physiotherapy.

Outlook

The outlook of an infant with spina bifida is determined by the severity of their spinal abnormalities. For example, if an infant has full paralysis, hydrocephalus, and other congenital defects, his or her outlook may be bleak.

However, with proper care and medical attention, most infants with spina bifida survive into adulthood.

Conclusion

Spina bifida is one of various baby spine disorders that can occur during the development of a fetus in the uterus. There are three major varieties, with varying degrees of severity. Myelomeningocele is the most dangerous condition, in which a fluid-filled sac containing the spinal cord and other tissues protrudes through the infant’s back.

Meningocele is characterized by the presence of a sac but the absence of the spinal cord or nerves, and the patient may not feel severe symptoms. Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of spina bifida, in which no sac protrudes through the back yet there is a breach in the spine. Individuals with this type of spina bifida may be unaware of their condition until they reach maturity.

Spina bifida has no cure because the nerve damage is irreversible. Surgery and other therapies, on the other hand, can help people manage their disability and mobility issues.

Sources:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/spinabifida/data.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
  • https://medlineplus.gov/spinabifida.html#cat_78
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/spina-bifida-in-infants-and-treatment-options
  • https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Spina-Bifida-Information-Page#
  • https://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/resource/occulta/
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/spinal-deformity-in-children-with-myelomeningocele/
  • https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Tethered-Spinal-Cord-Syndrome
  • https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/spinabifida/conditioninfo/treatment
  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/spinabifida/facts.html
  • https://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/what-is-spina-bifida-2/

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2022 NccMed.com