CAUSES OF CONGENITAL ANOMALIES IN CHILDREN
European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine,
2020, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 6341-6349
AbstractCongenital anomalies can be defined as structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life. Also called birth defects, congenital disorders, or congenital malformations, these conditions develop prenatally and may be identified before or at birth, or later in life. An estimated 6% of babies worldwide are born with a congenital anomaly, resulting in hundreds of thousands of associated deaths. However, the true number of cases may be much higher because statistics do not often consider terminated pregnancies and stillbirths.
But where do these defects come from? Although some birth defects are inherited, others are a product of harmful environmental factors known as teratogens, and still others are multifactorial, resulting from a complex interaction of genetic and environmental influences. However, in approximately half of all birth defect cases, the causes are unknown
Some congenital anomalies can be treated with surgical and non-surgical options, such as cleft lip and palate, clubfoot, and hernias. Others, including heart defects, neural tube defects, and down syndrome, can cause lifelong impacts.
Of course, not all birth defects have such profound consequences. Consider, for example, cleft lip and palate; this is a multi factorial birth defect that, if left uncorrected, can create difficulties with eating and speech. Children born with cleft lip usually undergo corrective surgery at an early age. Although genes definitely play a role in the development of this defect, environmental factors, including smoking and the use of ant seizure drugs, have been associated with a greater risk of bearing a child with cleft lip and/or palate. 
Congenital anomalies are one of the main causes of the global burden of disease, and low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected. These areas are also less likely to have facilities to treat reversible conditions such as clubfoot, leading to more pronounced and long-lasting effects.
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