What are the possible treatment for Prader Willi syndrome?
Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, causes a range of physical, mental & behavioral issues. One of the most distinctive aspects of the condition is that it triggers an unrelenting feeling of hunger which typically starts to manifest around the age of two. There are various treatments for Prader-Willi Syndrome available which are discussed below
Prader-Willi Syndrome is a condition in which people feel an insatiable hunger (hyperphagia) and have difficulty controlling their body weight. Unfortunately, many of the problems associated with it are caused by obesity and the inability to regulate food intake.
Having a team to handle the complications of Prader-Willi Syndrome is essential in providing your loved one with a better quality of life. Multiple experts can come together to manage the disorder’s symptoms, reduce the chances of further issues and optimize their happiness.
Table of contents
People with Prader-Willi syndrome may experience different symptoms at different stages of life. These can range from mild to severe and can even change over time, as the individual grows from childhood to adulthood.
Individuals may experience certain signs and symptoms at birth, such as:
- Infants with poor muscle tone (hypotonia) often have their elbows and knees bent outwards rather than kept in a fixed position, making them appear limp or floppy when they’re held. This is an important symptom to look out for.
- Babies can be born with particular facial features, such as almond-shaped eyes, a narrowing of the head at the temples, a downturned mouth, and a slender upper lip.
- Infants who lack muscle tone may struggle with their sucking reflex, making it hard to get adequate nutrition. This can lead to ill health and even failure to thrive if it isn’t addressed promptly.
- Generally, babies can be quite lethargic and unresponsive. Signs of this include appearing to be overly tired, not responding well to stimulation, taking extremely long to wake up, and having a rather feeble cry.
- Genital abnormalities are an issue that some individuals face. In males, their penis & scrotum may not grow to the normal size, and testicles may fail to descend from their abdomen. For females, issues such as a small clitoris & labia may be present.
Prader Willi syndrome: Early childhood to adulthood
Prader-Willi syndrome usually presents itself with certain characteristics in early childhood, with most of them lasting into adulthood. This necessitates a highly planned management process. Such features include:
- Prader-Willi Syndrome is easily recognizable by the insatiable appetite it causes and the consequent weight gain which usually begins when the patient is around 2 years old. Those afflicted by this condition have an enduring need for food.
- Hypogonadism is a condition where the sexual organs do not produce enough sex hormones. For men, this involves the testes while women are affected in their ovaries.
- Inadequate growth hormone production can lead to stunted adult height, insufficient muscle mass, and increased body fat. Endocrine disruptions may lead to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or inhibit the body from properly responding to stressful or infectious conditions due to central adrenal insufficiency.
- Prader-Willi syndrome can cause delays in motor development such as sitting, crawling, and walking. Toddlers affected by this condition tend to reach these milestones at a later age than their peers.
- Speech delays and poor articulation of words can often persist into adulthood. This can make it difficult for those affected to communicate effectively.
- Prader-Willi syndrome can result in various sleep problems, like disruptions in the sleep cycle and apnea. These issues can cause increased daytime drowsiness and exacerbate behavioral difficulties.
- A range of other indicators can also point to a potential diagnosis. These may include having small hands & feet, spinal curvature, issues with the hips, limited saliva production, nearsightedness or other vision issues, an inability to regulate body temperature correctly, higher pain threshold than normal, hypopigmentation in eyes and skin appearing paler than usual.
Treatment for Prader Willi syndrome
Although Prader-Willi syndrome has no known cure, your child will have access to healthcare professionals who can help you manage the condition’s symptoms. So, you and your family can focus on providing love & care to ensure their well-being.
Your local child development team will be there to aid in the development of your child. Additionally, they could also see a hospital pediatrician or even a pediatric endocrinologist who can provide the necessary care and support.
As your young one matures and their necessities transform, the treatment plan for Prader Willi syndrome must be frequently reviewed to ensure it meets their developing needs.
An early diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome can make a huge difference in improving an individual’s quality of life.
An endocrinologist for handling hormonal disorders, behavior specialists, a dietician, and physical & occupational therapists – these are some of the professionals that could make up your team.
Depending on the magnitude and type of symptoms, treatments for Prader-Willi syndrome may vary; however, the majority of children with this condition require:
- Parents of infants with Prader-Willi syndrome should speak with their pediatrician about the right nutrition for their baby. High-calorie formula and specialized feeding patterns can help babies gain weight and allow for closer monitoring of growth.
- HGH treatment is a suitable option for children with Prader-Willi syndrome. It leads to increased growth, improved muscle tone, and reduced fat levels in the body.
- Your child’s endocrinologist may recommend hormone replacement therapy to address the deficiency.
- Working with a dietitian is the ideal way of helping your child manage their weight while also ensuring they receive all the nutrients they need.
- Taking steps to manage sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances can lead to improved daytime alertness and behavior. Treatment for Prader Willi syndrome is the key to dealing with these issues.
- To help your child, a combination of therapies can be useful. Physical therapy to build strength and movement skills, speech therapy for language development, and occupational therapy to acquire everyday skills, are all very beneficial.
- Behavior management may require setting limits, and schedules, and monitoring food intake. In some cases, medication may also be necessary for controlling behavior.
- Seeing a mental health professional can help you with psychological issues, such as obsessive-compulsive problems, skin picking, and mood disorders. Psychologists and psychiatrists are ideal in such situations and can provide quality care to those who need it.
Prader-Willi syndrome is a difficult condition for families to navigate as it can require a lot of patience. Eating problems, behavior, and medical issues associated with the condition all affect everyone in the household. If you are going through mental health issues, talking to a mental health professional, joining a support group, and seeking other sources of support can be effective ways to cope and get the necessary support.
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