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Intro to Newborn Screenings

Happy June! I'm back with a post about newborn screenings, how they work, and why they're important. Keep reading to learn more!


What is a Newborn Screening?

This screening is done to scan for diseases among newborns. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 4 million babies are screened in the U.S. each year, and about 12,500 babies are diagnosed with a disease.


During the screening, a blood sample is taken from the baby's heel, and the baby is tested for hearing loss, congenital heart defects, and several genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders. The testing is administered soon after the baby is born, before discharged from the hospital.


Why is This Screening Important?

Newborn screenings may screen up to 50 diseases, most of which need to be diagnosed early on to be treated. Not being screened can potentially lead to long-term issues and devastating effects, such as intellectual disabilities.


Newborn screening tests are administered differently by region due to the varying prevalence of certain disorders. Some diseases that are scanned for in all 50 states in the U.S. include phenylketonuria (PKU), congenital hypothyroidism, and galactosemia. These diseases are crucial to be diagnosed in early stages, or consequences may be life threatening.


What's the Problem?

So far, I've clearly conveyed the importance of newborn screenings, but what's the problem? Why am I trying to raise awareness about this screening, and why do I keep going on endlessly about it?


The sad truth is that millions of babies worldwide do not have access to newborn screenings. Many of them keep living undiagnosed, which can lead to life threatening consequences and effects, such as mental retardation and intellectual disabilities. Some babies do not survive the effects of undiagnosed congenital disorders.


While one factor of this issue could be that a baby's family cannot afford the screening, another alarming cause is that most hospitals in rural areas do not offer the screening at all. Some families are unaware of the existence of this screening, even if they would have been willing to pay for it.


My Goal

I aim to raise awareness of this issue through my blog. I plan to write to government officials to encourage mandating that all hospitals must offer newborn screenings to families. I also plan on creating a fundraiser to raise money to provide newborn screening opportunities to families that cannot afford them.


By reading, subscribing, and sharing my blog, you can help make a worldwide impact. As always, do not forget to spread the word to help with my cause.


Feel free to reach out with any questions or comments, and make sure to subscribe to receive updates whenever I make a new post!


Signing off,

Aishu

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