WORLD SPINA BIFIDA AND HYDROCEPHOLAS DAY
On October 25th, World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day raises awareness and understanding for these diseases that affect the spine and the brain. It’s also a day to advocate and promote the rights of those living with these conditions.
Spina bifida is a congenital defect that affects the spine. When a baby is born with this condition, a part of their spinal cord is exposed through a gap in the backbone. According to the CDC 1,400 babies are born with spina bifida each year. Throughout the world, 1 in 2,500 babies are born with spina bifida.
Spina bifida is a neural tube defect, which are defects that affect the brain and spine. Another type of neural tube defect is hydrocephalus. This condition occurs when there is a buildup of fluid in the brain’s ventricles. This extra fluid puts pressure on the brain and can result in brain damage. In the United States, 1 in every 500 babies are born with hydrocephalus. Another 6,000 children will develop hydrocephalus by the age of 2.
Hydrocephalus is more common in babies born in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
It’s unknown what causes most cases of neural tube defects. However, there are things pregnant women can do to lower their baby’s risk. Pregnant women are encouraged to take Folic acid. Managing pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and obesity can also help lower the risk for neural tube defects. Women should also be careful when taking certain medications, such as seizure medications and pain meds during pregnancy.
There is no cure for spina bifida or hydrocephalus. Babies born with these neural tube defects will need lifelong care. Some complications for neural tube defects include mobility problems, orthopedic impairments, and incontinence.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldSpinaBifidaAndHydrocephalusDay
On this day, both children and adults with these conditions are encouraged to share their stories with others. It’s also a day that the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus holds a variety of events to educate the general public about these neural tube defects. To participate:
- Reach out to someone with spina bifida or hydrocephalus and show them your support.
- Donate to an organization that funds research for neural tube defects.
- Learn more about these birth defects and how to decrease their risk.
- Read about famous people with spina bifida, such as Hank Williams, Jean Driscoll, Rene Kirby, and John Cougar Mellencamp.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WSBAHD
WORLD SPINA BIFIDA AND HYDROCEPHALUS DAY HISTORY
The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus established this day during their General Assembly in Guatemala in 2011. The first World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day was held October 25th, 2012.