Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Essay

1806 words - 7 pages

Nutrition is a key component of an individual’s healthy well being. Many factors have a significant effect on nutrition and it is important to continuously maintain a balanced one. Having a good nutrition is one of the main defenses for an innumerous amount of illnesses and diseases that can harm the body. One would ask, “What is nutrition per say, and how do we maintain the balance of it?” Nutrition is defined as “the sum of the processes by which [a living thing] takes in and utilizes food substances.” (Merriam-Webster, 2011). It is the responsibility of each individual to assure the consumption of enough nutrients to nourish the body and to be cautious of harmful toxins. A child is dependent on their guardian on being taught how to have a well-nourished diet, as they are incapable of maintaining it on their own. It is extremely important that a pregnant mother is well aware of the concepts of nutrition, as she has to keep herself and the fetus growing internally healthy. If a mother is unvigilant during pregnancy and is not well nourished, it can lead to many severe abnormalities in the growing fetus. More specifically, a disorder that will be explored in this essay is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS); caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Since the alcohol is consumed in such a developing stage of the fetus, it can potentially cause many different complications in the unborn child. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome could easily be prevented with more awareness to the issue and its defining characteristics, how it affects the fetus during growth, and finally the long-term effects on the individual’s life. The science behind FAS will be explained in depth to grasp a thorough understanding of what it is and how it causes harm to the nourishment and bodily processes of the individual. Furthermore the issue will be broken down into how it is classified and diagnosed depending on the extremity of the signs and symptoms. The last important factor is how it affects the behavioral and social skills of the person and the different concerns it can evoke.
The science behind FAS is quite simple; as it is known that alcohol has a damaging effect on the body, it has similar consequences on the fetus. Since the fetus is constantly developing, the alcohol causes more serious defects to the unborn child. Alcohol exposure to a fetus is known as a teratogen. “Teratogens are substances or conditions that disrupt typical development in offspring as a result of gestational exposure and cause birth defects.” (Wilson & Fraser, 1977). Although the exposure to alcohol causes problems in the fetus, studies have shown that it may not accurately be the alcohol in the mother’s system that causes these defects, rather the byproducts that form when the body metabolizes the alcohol. This can lead to a decrease in brain cells, abnormal location of neurons, and gross malformation to the brain. Since alcohol causes this central nervous system damage, it is...

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