July is observed as the National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month. It focuses on raising awareness about orofacial clefts and other craniofacial anomalies. This month is celebrated each year with the vision to provide the sufferers and their families with the necessary support and opportunities to learn and grow. In the month of July, various organizations and individuals team up to help people in some way or the other.
If you are also interested in helping children and families in need of assistance, support, or guidance, first educate yourself about craniofacial anomalies and then provide them the aid during National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month. You can use social media platforms, host events, offer free learning classes, share your skills, and more. Even if you contribute a little, it will definitely make a huge difference.
Why Is Celebrating National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month Important?
Craniofacial anomalies are surprisingly common these days. Every year, in the United States, 2,600 babies are born with cleft palates and 4,400 babies with cleft lips. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is the most common congenital disability worldwide. Even though it is common in the USA and other parts of the world, the majority of the population is still unaware of it. Parents don’t know what causes their babies to have cleft and how they can deal with it. This makes celebrating National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month crucial.
Knowing what causes these abnormalities, how they can be prevented, what can be done, and what opportunities are available for such children is something that every parent should know about. This will prepare them for any situation and help them deal with it more strongly.
In this respect, we all should come together and celebrate National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month.
What Are Craniofacial Anomalies?
Craniofacial anomalies (CFA) represent a broad set of head and facial bone growth malformations. Anomaly is a medical term that means "irregularity" or "different from normal." There are various types of such deformities, and they are present from the birth of a baby. Some of the CFAs are mild and don’t need any special treatment. On the other hand, some are serious and require surgery. The most common type of CFA is Cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
Cleft Lip is a separation that occurs in a child’s lip because of which the lip doesn't fully develop. It ranges from the mild cleft lip with just a little notch to a severe separation that extends up to the nose. On the other hand, Cleft Palate is an abnormality in the roof of the mouth. It creates a gap because of which the mouth does not open completely and leaves a hole in the nasal cavity. This usually occurs when the tissues forming the roof of the mouth do not join during pregnancy.
These are the types of CFA that are commonly seen in children at the time of their birth. A child can suffer either from one of these or, at times, both. Through National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month, various individuals and organizations try to make people aware of multiple types of CFA.
Problems Linked With Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Children with cleft lip and cleft palate experience several problems. Some of them are:
1. Difficulty in eating
2. Issues with development of speech
3. Higher risk of ear infections
4. Hearing problems
5. Lack of individual growth and development
6. Dental issues
7. Low self-esteem and self-confidence
What Causes Craniofacial Anomalies In Babies?
Various medical researches are done with respect to cleft and craniofacial abnormalities. All of them showed that there is no single factor that can cause such anomalies; however, there are several causes that contribute to their growth. Although the causes are unknown to the professionals in most cases, they have come up with a list of some common reasons so that parents can try to protect themselves and their children.
Here are some of the reasons behind the development of craniofacial anomalies in babies. Make sure you learn about the cases and make women aware of them on National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month.
1. Family History: Parents who have a family history of cleft lip or cleft palate are more likely to have a baby with a cleft.
2. Having Diabetes: Researches have shown that women diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy are at higher risk of having a baby with anomalies.
3. Smoking: Smoking before a month of getting pregnant to the third month of pregnancy increases the risk. Those women are believed to have a baby with abnormalities. Through National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month, it is important to let women know that smoking is not good for the baby and might result in the development of cleft.
4. Obesity During Pregnancy: Thyroid or obesity is another reason for having an infant with craniosynostosis. Some cases have shown that obese women or those diagnosed with thyroid during pregnancy are at higher risk.
5. Exposure To Certain Materials: Not just smoking, women consuming alcohol or taking certain medications before or during pregnancy increases the chances of giving birth to a baby with a cleft. National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month is the right time to make women learn the consequences of such substances and suggest they are cautious if they plan to conceive a baby.
Treatment Of Craniofacial Anomalies
There are various treatments available for orofacial clefts in children. These treatments differ with the severity of the abnormality and the health condition of the patient. Surgeries have proven successful in curing the cleft lip or palate. However, you must check the factors affecting the treatment and ask the doctors regarding the same. Here are some factors on which the treatment of craniofacial anomalies depends:
1. Age of the patient
2. Specific needs or requirements of the family
3. Presence of associated syndromes in the baby
4. Or any other disability since birth
This National Cleft And Craniofacial Awareness Month ensure that you spread awareness about the prevention and treatment and help the kids and families suffering from it.
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