Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's All in Your Spine


My mother has been recently diagnosed with a form of Spina Bifida. Since spina bifida occulta is usually diagnosed during exams for other injuries, most people never even realize they have it. This was the case with my mother.

Mom injured her back during the summer and the pain from that injury is what led to this discovery. She also suffered some disc damage of the herniated type. The doctors are going to give her an epidural shot in the hopes that it will block some of the pain she is suffering. I am hoping that if this works, she will be able to lead a somewhat normal life. While I am aware of the side affects of this treatment, I see the agony my mom is in and I just want her to have some kind of life.

What I have learned is that this disease, like Alzheimer's, may/may not be heredity. Scientists still can't decide. Go figure. But, like Alzheimer's, spina bifida is linked to a deficiency in folic acid. I have also learned that if you are a diabetic or suffer from epilepsy, you are at greater risk of having a child with some type of spina bifida.

My concern is for my children now. Since none of us were aware of this, no precautions were taking during either of my pregnancies. Nor were any taken during my son's exes pregnancy. I have made my daughter aware of this in the hopes that she will start taking folic acid now to prevent any problems for her children later.

Since this disease is the most of severe birth defects in children, you would think more information would be passed on to future parents. The chances of you having a child with spina bifida are extremely high if you or a parent has it.

Mom has been to several doctors and none of them saw this on her x-rays. I can't help but wonder if they saw it and did not recognize it or thought she was already aware of it and decided not to mention it.Makes me wonder just how many of us have this and are not even aware of it. Something else to ask your doctor the next time you need x-rays/MRI for a back injury.

4 Comments:

  1. MilesPerHour said...
    I've been suffering from back problems for 3 years now. Thanks for this information.
    Inge' said...
    MPH,
    You are most welcome.
    Tracy said...
    This is interesting. I remember just a bit of info about this being given to me when they asked if I wanted an amniocentesis type test when I was pregnant with my youngest son (they may have been asking that because I was close to 35yrs old when I had him).
    Inge' said...
    Tracy,
    You may right as to the reasoning behind the amniocentesis test.

    I was simply amazed at how many people suffer from some form of this disease.

    To think something as simple as increasing your folic acid can help prevent this just boggles my mind.

    I don't understand why this is not more widely touted since the numbers are so high for this disease.

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