Kale is a nutrient-rich green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable. For the whole body, it can provide a variety of health benefits.
Like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, it is a member of the mustard, or Brassicaceae, family.
This article looks at kale’s nutrient value and health effects, how to use it in the diet, and why certain individuals should not consume so much of it.
The body is supported by antioxidants to destroy unwanted contaminants arising from natural activities and environmental pressures.
These toxins, known as free radicals, are molecules which are unstable. If too many build up in the body, they can lead to cell damage. This can result in health problems such as diseases and inflammation. Experts believe that, for example, free radicals may play a role in cancer growth.
Read more about foods containing antioxidants here.
Fiber: A 2018 study showed that there appears to be a reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes for individuals who eat the highest levels of dietary fiber. Consuming dietary fibre, the authors say, may also reduce blood glucose levels.
Antioxidants: Authors of a 2012 article mention that high levels of blood sugar will allow free radicals to be developed. They note that antioxidants can help mitigate problems that may arise with diabetes, such as vitamin C and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Kale contains all of these antioxidants.
Heart health can be helped by different nutrients in kale.
Potassium: The American Heart Association (AHA) advises that potassium intake should be increased, while additional salt or sodium consumption should be decreased. This will decrease the risk of elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA. A cup of cooked kale contains 3.6 per cent of the daily potassium requirements of an adult.
Fiber: A 2016 Cochrane review found a correlation between fiber intake and lower levels of blood lipids (fat) and blood pressure. It’s more likely that those who ate more fiber had lower levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
Chlorophyll: Kale and other chlorophyll-containing green vegetables may help protect heterocyclic amines from being consumed by the body. When people grill animal-derived foods at a high temperature, these chemicals occur. They have been linked by experts to cancer.
A lot of chlorophyll can not be consumed by the human body, but chlorophyll binds to these carcinogens and keeps the body from absorbing them. Kale will lower the chance of cancer in this way, and mixing a chargrilled steak with green vegetables will help decrease the negative effects.
Antioxidants: Cancer prevention can be improved by vitamin C, beta carotene, selenium and other antioxidants in kale. Studies have not shown that antioxidants have the same effect, although there seems to be a reduced chance of contracting different cancers in people who have a high consumption of fruits and vegetables. This may be due to the antioxidants found in these foods.
Health of the bone
For good bone growth, calcium and phosphorus are essential.
A cup of cooked kale contains about five times the daily need for vitamin K for an adult, about 15-18 percent of its calcium requirement, and about 7 percent of the daily need for phosphorus.
Kale is rich in fiber and water, all of which help reduce constipation and encourage a balanced digestive tract and regularity.
Skin and hair
Kale is a good source of beta-carotene, the carotenoid that is converted as required by the body into vitamin A.
For the growth and maintenance of all body tissues, including skin and hair, beta-carotene and vitamin A are required.
To build and preserve collagen, the body uses vitamin C, a protein that provides structure for the skin, hair, and bones. Vitamin C is also present in kale.
At least 20 percent of a person’s daily need for vitamin A and over 23 percent of the daily need for vitamin C is provided by a cup of cooked kale.
Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, a combination of antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration associated with age.
The amount of each nutrient in a cup of boiled kale, weighing about 118 grams (g), without added salt, is shown in the table below.
It also indicates, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, how much an adult requires for each nutrient. Requirements differ according to the sex and age of the person.
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 cup||Daily adult requirement|
|Carbohydrate in grams (g)||6.3, including 1.4 g of sugar||130|
|Calcium in milligrams (mg)||177||1,000–1,200|
|Selenium in micrograms (mcg)||1.1||55|
|Vitamin C (mg)||21||75–90|
|Folate (mcg DFE)||76.7||400|
|Betaine (mg)||0.4||No data|
|Beta carotene (mcg)||2,040||No data|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin (mcg)||5,880||No data|
|Vitamin E (mg)||1.9||15|
|Vitamin K (mcg)||494||90–120|
|Vitamin A (mcg RAE)||172||700–900|
A variety of antioxidants and B vitamins are also given by Kale.
Find out more about the value of another green, leafy vegetable, which is spinach.
With a hint of earthiness, Kale is a crisp and hearty vegetable. The flavors and quality of nutrition can differ between types. Younger leaves tend to be less bitter and fibrous, compared with summer leaves.
Curly kale: This is the kind that is most widely available. It is usually bright green, dark green, or purple, with easy to tear, tight, ruffled leaves. To remove the leaves from the fibrous stalk, run your hand down the stalk in the direction of growth.
Lacinato or dinosaur kale: This dark blue-green variety is firmer and more robust than curly kale. Owing to its scaly appearance, it is known as the dinosaur kale. The leaves tend to be longer and flatter and, after cooking, retain their texture. Dinosaur kale is less bitter than curly kale, and is perfect for producing kale chips.
Red Russian kale: This is a flat-leaf variety that looks a little like oak leaves. The stalks are slightly purple and there is a reddish tinge to the leaves. People may find the stalks too fibrous to eat, but the leaves, with a hint of pepper and lemon, are sweet and delicate, almost like sorrel. People can add them raw, or as a garnish, to salads, sandwiches, and juices.
Kale grows well in the colder winter months, making a good addition when other fruits and vegetables are less readily available. Cooking winter kale is best, as colder weather will transform the kale sugars into starch, raising the bitterness and fiber quality.
Kale may be consumed raw, or steamed, braised, boiled, or sautéed, or added to soups and casseroles.
Raw: Scrunching the leaves briefly in the hands can make them easier to digest. Add to salads, sandwiches, wraps, or smoothies.
As a side dish: Sauté fresh garlic and onions in olive oil until soft. Add kale and continue to sauté until desired tenderness. Alternatively, steam for 5 minutes, then drain and stir in a dash of soy sauce and tahini.
Kale chipsRemove the ribs from the kale and sprinkle with olive oil or lightly spray with a mixture of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes or garlic powder. Bake to the perfect crispness for 15-30 minutes at 275 ° F.
Smoothies: For your favourite smoothie, add a handful of kale. It will add nutrients without changing the flavor very much.
The Environmental Working Group, which reviews a number of items each year, placed kale third on its 2019 list of fruits and vegetables most at risk of pesticide contamination. Before using it, people should wash kale thoroughly.
For the following reasons, certain people should stop eating too much kale:
Beta-blockers: This type of drug is often recommended for heart disease by doctors. It can increase blood levels of potassium. High potassium foods, such as kale, can be eaten cautiously by those who use beta-blockers.
Kidney disease: It can be dangerous for people whose kidneys are not completely functioning to absorb so much potassium. If excess potassium will not be eliminated from the blood by the kidneys, it may be fatal to consume extra potassium.
Blood thinners: Kale is a rich source of vitamin K, which helps to coagulate the blood. This could interact with blood thinner activity, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Anyone on any of these drugs should discuss foods to avoid with their doctor.
Kale is a leafy, green vegetable which provides a wide variety of nutrients. It is a balanced addition to a diverse diet, and it can be used in numerous ways by people.
- A primer on potassium. (2018).
- Antioxidants and cancer prevention. (2017).
- Appendix 7. Nutritional goals for age-sex groups based on dietary reference intakes and Dietary Guidelines recommendations. (2015).
- Bone health for life: Health information basics for you and your family. (2018).
- Diabetes superfoods. (n.d.).
- Forrest, K. Y., & Stuhldreher, W. L. (2011). Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults [Abstract].
- Full list: EWG’s 2019 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. (2019).
- Hao, G., et al. (2017). Vitamin K intake and the risk of fractures.
- Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. (2019).
- Kunzmann, A. T., et al. (2015). Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.
- Liu, R., et al. (2015). Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and association with visual function in age-related macular degeneration.
- May, H. L., et al. (2016). Dietary fiber to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- What are the health benefits of kale? (LINK)
- McRae, M. P. (2018). Dietary fiber intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus: An umbrella review of meta-analyses.
- Rasmussen, H. M., & Johnson, E. J. (2013). Nutrients for the aging eye.
- Woziwodzka, A., et al. (2013). Heterocyclic aromatic amines heterocomplexation with biologically active aromatic compounds and its possible role in chemoprevention.
Things to understand about the shoulder
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.
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.
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.
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 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
- 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.
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
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.
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
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.
Secondary osteoarthritis: What is it?
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)?
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
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.
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
- 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
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
What you should know about babies born with spina bifida
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
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.
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).
Spina bifida symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition and may differ between individuals.
Myelomeningocele symptoms include:
- bowel and bladder issues
- curved spine
- open spine
- a skin-covered sac protruding from the back
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.