What is Prader-Willi Syndrome?

Some people joke about always feeling hungry when someone calls them out for gaining weight, but for children who go to great pains just to get a morsel of food because they never feel full, it’s no longer a joke.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disease caused by an error in the chromosomes, specifically chromosome 15. There is no explanation why this happens, and the symptoms do not usually manifest in infants until they start feeding. Although there are no obvious physical defects, it affects the child’s behavior, learning capabilities, and emotional growth.

The most obvious symptom is the child’s insatiable hunger, caused by the body’s inability to send signals whether it’s full or not no matter how much the child eats. As a result, the child is constantly seeking food and may be in danger of obesity and its related problems. They are also prone to learning difficulties, restricted growth, and behavioral problems, and the only way to determine if the child has PWS is through genetic testing if the child shows some of these symptoms.

Treatment of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PWS, which is why parents are advised to closely monitor the child’s eating habits and to manage the symptoms associated with weight problems. Most families affected by this disease need to impose a restricted but balanced and healthy diet for the child, a task that can be emotionally draining for parents.

The child will go to great lengths to obtain food, and there are even cases where the child would willingly eat animal excrement just to satisfy their hunger. Dealing with the child’s behavior problems brought about by constant hunger is the most challenging part of the treatment, not the diet itself. Some teenagers with PWS live in care facilities to help them eat a healthy diet and enjoy a safe environment, although a strict meal plan at home will give the same benefits.

Lifestyle and Diet

The symptoms of PWS are not life-threatening as long as the family of the child can control the eating habits and prevent problems associated with obesity. Infants with PWS are advised to have a high-calorie formula to prevent the decrease in muscle tone, while older children may be given human growth hormone treatment if there are problems in the child’s physical growth and development.

Others are also advised to get hormone replacement therapy to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and a to observe a reduced-calories diet to manage the child’s weight. Physical activities are also encouraged to maintain an ideal weight and to take off the child’s mind from food obsession. Other physical symptoms are treated separately if the child has diabetes, scoliosis, hypothyroidism or eye problems.

What is Strabismus?

Have you ever wondered why some people have misaligned eyes? The condition is collectively called strabismus and it is classified into several types.

In normal eyes, the external eye muscles or extraocular muscles are supposed to work perfectly for proper position, function, neurological control, and binocular vision. People with strabismus have anatomical or neurological problems that interfere with one of those.

Types of Strabismus

The type of misalignment of the eyes is classified based on the direction of the misalignment. Below are the most common types of strabismus.

Esotropia

This is described by the turning-in of one or both the eyes and is sometimes called crossed eyes. Some newborns may exhibit this symptom, but they usually go away after a while. But if the misalignment does not correct itself by the time the baby is 4 months old or the misalignment is significant, the child should be taken to an ophthalmologist for proper diagnosis. Esotropia can also be a symptom of another eye condition, neurological condition, thyroid eye diseases, stroke, and others.

If left untreated, the child will frequently experience double vision, amblyopia, and decrease in the binocular vision. Although the condition can run in families, a baby has a higher risk of developing esotropia if he/she is born premature, or there is a history of systemic disorders, neurological problems, and other genetic disorders in the family. Esotropia can be treated by addressing the cause of the problem. This means that ocular alignment, diplopia, and amblyopia should be addressed using spectacles, surgery, and Botox injections.

Exotropia

This type of strabismus is the opposite of esotropia. Exotropia is the turning outward of one or both eyes and is most noticeable if the child is daydreaming or is tired or looking at a distance. Intermitted exotropia is harmless as long as it resolves itself, but if it happens frequently, the child should be taken to an ophthalmologist. Usually, the child is unaware that one eye has drifted outwards and experience no changes in the vision, although some describe blurry or double vision.

One common symptom is that the child will close or squint one eye when they focus on bright lights, which means that it can be difficult for them to use both eyes at the same time. Other than possible genetic abnormalities and eye conditions, exotropia is not caused by any external factor or activity. This is usually treated using glasses or surgery to realign the eyes if the symptoms affect everyday activities.

Hypertropia and Hypotropia

Hypertropia is the turning upwards or the eye, while hypotropia is the turning downwards of the eye. It does not cause pain and other symptoms, but the child will experience double vision, eye strain, and headaches from time to time. One common sign is that unconsciously they will tilt the head to one side to get better vision. However, these types of strabismus may be a symptom of other conditions such as Brown syndrome, fourth cranial nerve palsy, and Duane syndrome.