Spina Bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually for a developing baby. It's a type of neural tube defect or NTD for short. Spina Bifida can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way. When the tube doesn't close all the backbone that manages to protect the spinal cord doesn't form as it should. This of course is important because with this condition the spinal cord can easily be damaged along with the nerves. Spina Bifida can cause physical and mental problems from mild to severe. Severity depends on the size and location of the openings in the spine and if part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected. The are three most common types of Spina Bifida called Myelonmeningocele, Meningocele, and Spina Bifida Occulta.
Doctors aren't certain what causes this rare condition and just like other problems it appears to result from combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, like family history of neural tube defects and folic acid deficiency. Again doctors and researchers don't know for sure why spina bifida occurs, but they identified a few risk factors.
- Race- race is a common factor for it is mostly found or commonly found in whites and Hispanics
- Gender- the condition can be found in both girls and boys but researchers and doctors have found that it is most commonly found in girls.
- family history of neural tube defects- Couples who've had one child with neural tube defect have a slightly higher chance of having another baby with the same defect. That risk increases if two previous children have been affected by the condition.
Myelomeningocele is the most common and most severe out of the three. With this type a sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby's back. Part of the spinal cord and nerves are in the sac and are severely damaged. This can cause problems such as going to the bathroom, and loss of feeling in the legs and arms causing paralysis. People with this type can have seizures once in a while especially if the child requires a shunt. They also have orthopedic problems are abnormal physical attributes like deformed feet, uneven hips, or even scoliosis. This form of the condition can't be fully treated and usually can only be treated with surgery that can have a high chance of nerve damage or great negative affect on the spinal cord which will require intense therapy.
Meningocele is another type of spina bifida and is a very rare form. This form of the condition has a sac fluid that comes through an opening in the baby's back. But thankfully the spinal cord isn't found in the sac and there is usually small or no nerve damage. Since this type is less sever than myelomeningocele it causes little problems for the person and can thankfully be treated by surgery with little to no damage at all.
spina bifida occulta is another type of spina bifida obviously but doesn't really have a treatment because it isn't really a big threat. Spina Bifida occulta is like meningocele except it doesn't have a lot of fluid in the spinal cord or the shunt in it. So to put it to reasoning terms think of a normal spinal cord but with a little leak coming from the area where the gap is.