Eight facts about spina bifida

Posted on 01 September 2015 by Yooralla

This week is Spina Bifida Awareness Week, raising awareness about spina bifida in Australia.

Did you know that spina bifida is the second most common physical disability in Australia? Here are some other interesting facts:

  1. Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually identified at birth. A dimple or a hairy patch on the baby’s back is one indicator that the baby has spina bifida.  
  2. The specific causes of spina bifida are not known, but it is thought that a complex combination of both genetic and environmental factors play a role.
  3. Some people with spina bifida may never experience symptoms while others may experience a number of symptoms over the course of their life, for example a curved spine (scoliosis) or leg weakness.
  4. The number of babies with spina bifida in Australia has dropped dramatically in recent years due to greater awareness and intake of folate by women prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy. 
  5. The effects of spina bifida vary according the type, location and severity of the condition. It can be located in the neck, chest or lumbar spinal region.
  6. About 5 000 people in Australia have spina bifida and approximately 2 000 of those live in Victoria.
  7. The highest rate of spina bifida occurs in Ireland and Wales. 
  8. With access to quality services, many people with spina bifida lead an independent life. 


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