Newborn Screening Tests: Ensuring Utmost Health Of Your Little One



Welcoming a newborn is indeed an exciting yet overwhelming experience for parents. After months of waiting, you can finally hold the infant in your arms, celebrate their arrival, and shower them with love. 

 

At the same time, you’ll have to be alert about your little one’s needs to ensure their utmost health and wellbeing. Getting newborn screening in the early months can help you identify whether your little one is healthy and growing well. 

 

Medical studies show that health conditions such as congenital hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria (PKU), or cystic fibrosis are not found at birth; instead, they develop after birth. That’s why doctors and pediatricians recommend newborn screening.

 

In fact, in the United States, 4 million babies are screened every year. 

 

The burning question is- Which health conditions can be diagnosed with newborn screening tests? Continue reading to know! 

 

Metabolic Problems

 

As you already know, the metabolic process helps convert food into energy for the body to function well. In this process, enzymes (special proteins) play a key role. It helps in speeding the cell’s chemical reactions. If enzymes are low or not working properly, it can lead to the following health disorders: 

 

● Methylmalonic Acidemia
● Tyrosinemia
● Phenylketonuria (PKU)
● Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)
● Citrullinemia
● Medium Chain Acyl CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) Deficiency

 

Some of the visible signs of metabolic problems in infants include:

 

● Fast Breathing
● Fussiness
● Poor Weight Gain
● Seizures
● Extreme Tiredness
● Vomiting

 

If you notice any of these signs, consult the pediatrician as soon as possible. 

 

Hormone Problems

 

It might come as a surprise, but infants also experience hormonal problems. It happens when glands produce certain hormones in excess or deficit. It may lead to the development of the following two conditions: 

 

● Congenital Hypothyroidism
● Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

 

These conditions affect the growth and development of infants. Visible signs of hormonal issues in newborn includes: 

 

● Frequent Constipation
● Hernia around the belly button
● Enlarged tongue
● Jaundice
● Loose muscle tone
● Feeding problems

 

Fortunately, these conditions can be treated with medicines and feeding the baby properly. As babies can not swallow pills, it is recommended to mix the medicine with breast milk or formula. 

 

Hemoglobin Problems 

 

Hemoglobin is the protein present in the RBC (Red Blood Cells) and helps carry oxygen to other body parts. Screening can help in the diagnosis of the hemoglobin issues given below:

 

● Hemoglobin Sc Disease
● Sickle Cell Disease
● Beta Thalassemia

 

There are numerous reasons newborns are diagnosed with hemoglobin or anemia. It may include:

 

● Premature Baby
● Loss Of Blood
● Jaundice (Hyperbilirubinemia)
● Low RBC Production

 

The signs to look for low hemoglobin in an infant are: 

 

● Pale Skin
● Poor Feeding
● Fast Heart Rate
● Feeling Sluggish

 

It is quite common to have anemia in the first few months of life. With proper nutrition and treatment, babies recover quickly. However, if the condition does not improve, consult the doctor immediately. 

 

To Sum It All Up

Your newborn brings along happiness and blessing in abundance. To reciprocate this, the least you can do is to ensure the screening of your little one. It will also guide you about their health and start a treatment to improve their health condition (if necessary).

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