The Importance of Early Detection

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By Samantha Peters
When a person suspects he or a family member has a medical problem, do not hesitate to seek out professional help. Even if the individual’s fears and suspicions are wrong, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Early detection regarding medical issues is the key. The earlier a problem is found, the sooner intervention occurs and the better the result is. Waiting until an illness has become full-blown significantly lessens the chance of recovery.
For example, the sooner autism is diagnosed the sooner a family learns what it needs to know. Parents are trained to care for their child and how to facilitate skills for the child with autism. The earlier the intervention occurs, the better the long-term outcome is.
The same goes for early detection of cancer and why women, in particular, are encouraged to get annual mammograms.  
Cancer can be lethal; however, for those who catch it soon rather than late in the game the survival rates are exponentially better. If the cancer has progressed and metastasized, which means cancer has spread elsewhere in the body and is no longer contained in the site of origin, the treatment is much more aggressive and hard on the patient, and the prognosis isn’t a whole lot better. 
Undergoing treatment for cancer in the early stages is a lot less grueling than it is when the disease has progressed. Chemotherapy and radiation, often the treatments of choice, as well as certain cancer meditations are as hard on the patient as the disease itself.
Another medical problem requires that needs diagnosed as soon as possible is cerebral palsy (CP), which sometimes results when a mother has an infection during her pregnancy or the infant is deprived of oxygen due to placenta malfunction. 
Premature babies are also at risk for CP because pre-term infants are apt to suffer from brain bleeds, which harms brain tissue. Pre-terms sometimes develop periventricular leukomalacia, which is the destruction of brain nerves that surround the ventricles (fluid-filled cavities) in the brain.  
Some children acquire CP after birth as a result of brain injuries that occur, such as a head injury or meningitis, which is a brain infection. 
When a child suffers from CP, he has development delays and don’t smile, sit up, roll over or walk at an age when an un-afflicted child would be doing just that. Cerebral palsy symptoms can be difficult to detect at first, which is why a professional diagnosis is important. 
Babies afflicted with CP often have abnormal muscle tone. It can present as either rigid (hypertonia) or too relaxed (hypotonia) muscle tone.
Another indicator of CP is the infant favoring one side of the body when moving or preferring to sit or lie in an unusual position or posture.  
The infant with CP may have difficulty controlling his head when picked up or have crossed or ‘scissor’ legs that are stiff. If the child is only reaching with one hand, while the other hand is clenched in first, this can indicate the presence of CP.
As the child gets older, he may drag one hand and leg and use the opposing hand and leg to crawl. He may not be able to sit up without assistance or is unable to stand or crawl at an age when he should be able to do one or another or both.
The sooner cerebral palsy is diagnosed the better the outcome for the child. If you have any suspicion that your child may be afflicted, consult with a pediatrician ASAP.

Samantha Peters, an avid blogger who enjoys reading and blogging in her spare time. Sam manages a education news/opinion site, The Education Update, and lives in beautiful San Diego, California.

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The Importance of Early Detection
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