Fetal alcohol syndrome and facial characteristics
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders FASDs is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual with prenatal alcohol exposure. The exact number of children who have an FASD is difficult to determine. Based on studies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, it is estimated that in the United States, somewhere between and 8, babies could be born each year with fetal alcohol syndrome FAS. It describes people with the greatest alcohol effects, causing signs and symptoms so distinct that the diagnosis is based on special measurements and findings in each of the 3 following areas:. Three specific facial abnormalities: smooth philtrum the area between nose and upper lip , thin upper lip, small palpebral fissures the horizontal eye openings. Central nervous system CNS abnormalities structural, neurologic, functional, or a combination of these.
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In many cases, people with FASD do not have visible physical characteristics but their brain has been affected. Babies may have trouble nursing, may cry a lot, or may sleep too much. People with FASD may refuse to eat or eat too much. The brain develops through the entire pregnancy from the 17th day after conception, i. In the past, various diagnostic terms have been used to describe the disorders caused by alcohol during pregnancy:. What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder FASD? In Canada, over 1.
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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders FASDs are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.
A more recent article on fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is available. To complement the Annual Clinical Focus on medical genomics, AFP will be publishing a series of short reviews on genetic syndromes. This series was designed to increase awareness of these diseases so that family physicians can recognize and diagnose children with these disorders and understand the kind of care they might require in the future. The second review in this series discusses fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.