Spina Bifida Awareness Month is October

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month

Spina bifida is a congenital defect that affects the proper formation of the spine and the spinal cord. The spinal cord of a developing baby in the womb does not close or fully develop. Spina bifida can cause disabilities that range from moderate to severe such as incontinence, neuropathy, or immobility.

October has been dedicated as Spina Bifida Awareness Month and is a time for everyone to learn and understand more about spina bifida. We at Personally Delivered would like to share information about this birth defect and promote awareness.

The Four Types of Spina Bifida

The term spina bifida translates to “split spine.” Every individual with spina bifida experiences different things; no case is identical. Four types of spina bifida include:

Occulta

Occulta is the mildest and most common form of spina bifida, where one or more bones are malformed in the spinal column. This form of spina bifida is often found by an x-ray and unlikely causes symptoms or leads to disabilities.

Meningocele

When a sac of fluid pokes through the spine, a meningocele occurs. The defect of the spine’s bony covering allows this fluid to poke out. No nerves are present, and minor symptoms are usual.

Myelomeningocele

Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida. There is no complete skin over the spinal cord where the spinal column did not properly form. The opening can be surgically closed either in utero or immediately after birth. Most individuals with myelomeningocele will require close follow-up with their doctors throughout their life to prevent further complications.

Closed neural tube defects

When the neural tube does not entirely close, spina bifida can occur. The spine may have malformations of fat, bone, or the spinal cord’s membranes. Closed neural tube defects often require childhood surgery and lead to weakness in the leg muscles and bladder or bowel incontinence.

Spina Bifida Symptoms

Just as no two individuals experience spina bifida exactly the same, the symptoms also vary from person to person. However, a few symptoms seem to be commonly experienced among spina bifida patients.

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is when there is fluid in the brain that can cause brain issues and even swelling of the head.

Skin conditions

Calmoseptine Moisture Barrier OintmentWeak muscles, limited movement, and poor sensation can cause people with spina bifida to develop skin issues. Nerve pathways to the brain are interrupted, and a person with spina bifida may not be able to feel hot and cold. They may bruise easily or have wounds that heal slower.  

Bladder and bowel Incontinence

Assortment of incontinence productsMany people with spina bifida experience bladder and bowel incontinence. The nerves that control the bladder and bowels are affected when the spinal cord fails to develop correctly. The most common incontinence issues for those with spina bifida include:

  • Diarrhea – frequent loose, watery stools
  • Overflow incontinence – only small amounts of urine are released despite a strong urge to “go”
  • Overactive bladder – having no control of urination
  • Bowel incontinence – less mobility can lead to constipation followed by episodes of diarrhea

Physical activity

Drive Quad Small Base CaneSpina bifida can cause physical limitations in mobility, making it difficult to walk and do daily tasks. Wheelchairs, canes, and other adaptive equipment are used to move around from place to place. Many people with more severe forms of spina bifida work with a physical therapist to help increase mobility.

Spina Bifida Awareness

Every year, thousands of children are affected by spina bifida, and October is an excellent time to raise awareness and support those around us affected by this congenital defect. Here are some ways to get involved in advocacy activities and awareness.

Stay up-to-date on social media with the spina bifida community

Follow Spina Bifida Association on their social media platforms and join the fun! You can share their posts, patient stories, and more. Their social media links include:

Wear teal to raise spina bifida awareness

woman dressed in a teal outfit to raise spina bifida awarenessOne of the easiest ways to spark conversation is to wear the color teal from head to toe during October. When asked, tell people that teal is the official color of spina bifida awareness. You can share the social media channels above and direct them to Spina Bifida Association’s website to get more information and how to get involved.  

Advocate with the spina bifida community

Right now, the Spina Bifida Association is advocating for legislation asking Congress to invest in home and community-based services that would help millions of Americans with disabilities have access to quality home health care.

Participate in a Walk-N-Roll for spina bifida

people participating in a spina bifida awareness race including a man in a wheelchairThis in-person or virtual event is the perfect way to get engaged and support the community and the mission of the Spina Bifida Association. Anyone and everyone can participate. If you are not located near any of the listed cities, you can Walk-N-Roll Your Way at any time and any place.

Make a donation

Donations are life-changing and allow continued support for the spina bifida community. If you donate between now and October 31, the Spina Bifida Association will send you a teal silicone, latex-free bracelet so you can raise awareness all year long.

Now is the time to raise awareness for spina bifida. Help us take action to support those that need support.

Helpful Medical Supplies for Those with Spina Bifida

Carex bath transfer benchFor those living with spina bifida, various medical supplies can help make life more manageable. At Personally Delivered, we carry various home delivery medical supplies from top manufacturers and offer Automatic Delivery, so you never run out of the products you need the most. You’ll find a variety of catheters, catheter supplies, incontinence products, ostomy supplies, wound care supplies, adaptive equipment, and much more. Start browsing our website, and if you need any assistance, we have knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring Product Experts here to help.

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