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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Mental Retardation: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Mental Health (Mental Disorders)

Mental Retardation

Alternate Names : Developmentally Delayed, Mentally Disabled

Mental Retardation | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Mental retardation caused by genetic factors often cannot be prevented. Early screening for PKU can identify infants who are at risk. The baby's diet can then be tailored to prevent mental retardation. Some couples may consider genetic counseling if there is a family history of genetic disorders.

Mental retardation can sometimes be prevented by proper prenatal care.

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking during pregnancy.
  • Exercise and eat a healthy diet during pregnancy.
  • Get regular prenatal checkups and care as needed.
  • Mental retardation from factors during childhood can be reduced with the following measures.

  • Follow recommended schedules for well baby visits and childhood shots.
  • Remove lead and other toxins from the environment.
  • Use car safety seats.
  • Follow sports safety guidelines to avoid head injuries.
  • Provide regular stimulating contact with other children and adults.
  • What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Long-term effects vary, depending on the degree of retardation. They may include:

  • a need for lifelong sheltered living and work environments
  • a need for help with basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and toileting
  • significant, lifelong health problems
  • poor decision-making ability
  • a need for help with financial decisions and management
  • emotional and social immaturity
  • What are the risks to others?

    Mental retardation is not contagious. It poses no risk to others.

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    Mental Retardation: Diagnosis & Tests


    Mental Retardation: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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