Coping With LongTerm Health Problems

If your child is born with a serious medical problem or develops a condition during his or her first years, you will most certainly face some important decisions and responsibilities such as: The need to select and work with the appropriate team of medical professionals who will best help your child Choosing surgery or treatment options Learning how to give your child certain medications and treatments, or how to use necessary medical equipment Dedicating your energy, time, money, and emotional commitment to the care and treatment of your child Adapting your life to meet your childs needs while not neglecting the needs of other family members You may find that caring for a child with special needs can take all of your attention, leaving little time for anything else. While this is a perfectly normal response, it is vital for the overall wellness of the family for there to be a sense of balance and routine to activities. No one will benefit if the health condition becomes the overwhelming issue in your familys life.

Establishing normalcy can be challenging, but both you and your child will be better off if this approach is taken. Here are a few ways to help deal with a childs long-term health problem: Discuss your childs condition honestly and clearly with other family members so that they understand the situation. Provide them with medical literature, if necessary. Ask for help from friends and family members. Dont think that you can handle this all by yourself. Whenever possible, include your partner in discussions and decisions with medical professionals.

Join a support group for those who have children with a similar condition. Remember that your child still needs to be loved and cared for. Dont let the medical problems overtake your feelings for him or her as your child.

Dont neglect to take care of yourself. Your child is counting on you to be strong, and this is simply impossible if you let yourself become overwhelmed and exhausted. About half of babies born at 25 weeks will have learning difficulties, and/or problems with their eyesight and hearing.

The eyes of premature infants are especially vulnerable to injury after birth. They are at heightened risk of a complication called retinopathy of prematurity , which is caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye. Extremely premature babies may also have problems growing. They also seem to be more likely to develop asthma.

Children born at a later stage of pregnancy are much less likely to develop long-term problems. Tommy's Professor of Obstetrics, Lucilla Poston, Head of the King's group explains her team's role as one of the 40 European Centres of Excellence that will investigate these issues: We are investigating the potential that high-fat diets in pregnant women can cause Metabolic Syndrome in their offspring. This condition is a major health issue worldwide, characterised by obesity, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels.

Our research will look at both the impact of fat-rich diets on the health of offspring and the mechanisms by which this diet can programme the future health of the individual.

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