Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of motor and physical disorders that are connected to a brain injury. These problems result in uncontrolled movements and muscle spasticity. It can affect part of or the whole body.

What are the causes of Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of cerebral palsy is a brain injury that occurs before birth, during birth, or within the first few years of life. It can be due to prematurity, lack of blood and oxygen, infection, and genetics. The exact cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

Symptoms vary from person to person. They usually affect the body’s movements. Some people may limp, while others have to use a wheelchair. Some have no control over parts of their bodies, such as the arms and legs, which can shake a lot and make walking and simple movements hard to do. Seizures are common in severe cases of cerebral palsy. It does not get worse over time, but symptoms can change.

How is Cerebral Palsy diagnosed?

A physician asks the parents what they have observed of their child’s developmental progress. Then they do a physical exam and run some tests. Some of the tests are at CT scan, MRI and ultra sound.

How does Cerebral Palsy progress?

Cerebral palsy does not get worse, but symptoms do change as a child grows up. As an infant the first signs as connected to the developmental skills. A parent might notice that their child does not roll over or sit. They also may not crawl or walk at the appropriate ages. As a child grows it becomes more and more evident that something is wrong developmentally.
The severity of symptoms depends on each individual case. There is a connection between cerebral palsy and mental retardation. In severe cases, seizures are possible.

Types of Cerebral Palsy

Spastic Cerebral Palsy
In Spastic Cerebral Palsy an individual has muscle tightness in some parts of the body. It is very hard for them to relax. For example their hands may remain clenched. They have uncontrolled movements and have trouble with coordination movements, such as walking. They may also have trouble talking and eating.
There are four different types of Spastic Cerebral Palsy.

Diplegia – Affects one side of the body. This can be vertical, one arm and one leg or horizontal, either either legs or both arms. This is the most common form of Spastic Cerebral Palsy.

Monoplegia – Affects only one arm or one leg, hence the name Monoplegia.

Quadriplegia – Affects both arms and legs. It can also affect all of their other muscles in the body, making simple tasks, such as talking difficult.

Triplegia – Affects both arms and one leg or the reverse both legs and one arm.

Nonspastic Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – Affects the muscle tone. It may cause jerky, unsure involuntary movements. It can affect all parts of the body.

Hyperkinetic Cerebral Palsy – Affects the body during sleep. There are involuntary movements, such as twitching during sleep. If the face is affect there can be unusual facial expressions, drooling, and choking. Eating can be difficult.

Dystonic Cerebral Palsy – Affects the body and neck. These areas are very stiff and hard to move.

Ataxic – Affects the entire body. It is the rarest form of Nonspastic Cerebral Palsy.

Is there a cure?
There is no cure for cerebral palsy.

How is Cerebral Palsy treated?
Treatment is a lifelong process. It requires medications, surgery, special devices, physical therapy, and individual support. It can be difficult on a family and so outside health aid is often necessary. It often helps family members to seek outside help and counseling to deal with the day to day struggles.
How can Cerebral Palsy be prevented?
The exact cause of cerebral palsy is unknown, but there are steps you can do to reduce your risk during pregnancy.
� Eat a healthy diet
� Do not smoke
� Be careful
� Avoid harmful substances
� See your doctor regularly

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