What Is Cerebral Palsy? Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that impacts muscle tone, movement, and motor abilities (the capability to relocate a collaborated and purposeful way). CP usually is triggered by brain damage that takes place before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child’s life. This brain damage likewise can result in other health problems, consisting of vision, hearing, and speech issues; and learning specials needs.
There is no remedy for CP, but treatment, therapy, unique equipment, and, in some cases, surgery can assist kids who are coping with the condition.
Types of CP
Cerebral palsy is among the most typical hereditary (existing at or prior to birth) conditions of childhood. About 500,000 children in the United States have the condition.
The three types of CP are:
- spastic cerebral palsy: causes stiffness and motion difficulties
- dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy: leads to uncontrolled and unchecked motions
- ataxic cerebral palsy: causes a problem with balance and depth perception
Due to the fact that cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, even easy movements– like standing still– are difficult. Other functions that also involve motor skills and muscles– such as breathing, bladder and bowel control, consuming, and talking– also might be impacted when a child has CP.
Cerebral palsy does not become worse in time.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
The specific causes of CP aren’t always understood. But lots of cases are the outcome of problems during pregnancy when a fetus’ brain is either damaged or does not establish typically. This can be due to infections, maternal illness, a congenital disease, or something else that interferes with normal brain development. Rarely, problems during labor and delivery can cause CP.
Premature babies– particularly those who weigh less than 3.3 pounds (1,510 grams)– have a higher chance of having CP than babies that are reached term. So do other low-birthweight babies and multiple births, such as twins and triplets.
Mental retardation in infancy or early childhood likewise can cause CP. For example, a baby or toddler might suffer damage since of lead poisoning, bacterial meningitis, poor blood circulation to the brain, being shaken as an infant (shaken baby syndrome), or remaining in a car accident.
CP may be diagnosed extremely early in a baby known to be at risk for developing the condition since of premature birth or other illness. Medical professionals, including developmental pediatricians and neurological specialists, typically watch kids carefully after birth so that they can determine and attend to any developmental hold-ups or problems with muscle function that might suggest CP. In a baby carried to term with no other apparent risk factors for CP, it might be challenging to identify the disorder in the first year of life. Typically physicians aren’t able to identify CP till they see a hold-up in normal developmental turning points (such as not grabbing toys by 4 months or not staying up by 7 months), which can be a sign of CP.
Muscle tone that is too tight or too loose, poorly collaborated movements, and the presence of baby reflexes beyond the age at which they are expected to disappear also can be signs.
Kids with CP have differing degrees of handicap. Some have just mild disability, while others are badly impacted. This depends upon the extent of the damage to the brain. For instance, mental retardation can be extremely restricted, affecting only the part of the brain that manages walking, or it can be far more comprehensive, impacting muscle control of the whole body.
The brain damage that causes CP also can affect other brain functions and result in extra medical issues, such as sleep conditions, drooling, hearing loss, behavior problems, dental caries, food aspiration (the sucking of food or fluid into the lungs), speech issues, visual disability or blindness, gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up), osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones).
Seizures, speech and communication issues, and intellectual disabilities are more typical among kids with CP. Numerous have issues that can require continuous therapy and assistive devices such as braces or wheelchairs.
How Is Cerebral Palsy Treated?
Currently, there’s no remedy for cerebral palsy. However a range of resources and therapies can offer assistance and enhance the lifestyle for kids with CP.
Various sort of therapy can help them accomplish their optimal capacity in development and development. As soon as CP is diagnosed, a child can start therapy for motion, and other areas that require aid, such as learning, speech, hearing, and social and psychological advancement.
Also, medicine, surgery, or braces can help enhance muscle function. Orthopedic surgery can help repair dislocated hips and scoliosis (curvature of the spinal column), which are common problems associated with CP. For severe muscle pain or tightness, kids can take medication by mouth or offered through a pump (the baclofen pump) implanted under the skin.
Kids can improve their bone health by eating diets high in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. These nutrients assist keep bones strong. Medical professionals, nutritional experts, as well as speech-language therapists can work with families to make sure kids are getting enough of the right nutrients and suggest changes to their diets or mealtime regimens, if required.
Reseaches and Facts
A range of medical specialists might be needed to treat different medical conditions. Even if numerous medical specialists are required, it’s still important to have a primary care doctor or a CP expert. This doctor will take care of your child’s regular health care and also assist you collaborate your child’s care. A group of experts will work with you to meet your child’s requirements. That team might include therapists, psychologists, teachers, nurses, and social workers.
Looking after a child with CP can be frustrating sometimes. Not only do kids with CP require a great deal of attention at home, they also need to go to many medical appointments and therapies. Don’t be afraid to say yes when somebody asks, “Can I help?” Your friends and family actually do wish to be there for you.
To feel less alone and to get in touch with others who are facing the exact same challenges, discover a local or online support system. You likewise can get details and assistance from CP companies, such as:.
- Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
- My Child at CerebralPalsy.org.
- Cerebral Palsy Guidance.
- United Cerebral Palsy.
Remaining strong and healthy is not just great for you, but likewise for your child and your entire family.
Coping with CP is various for every single child. To assist your child move and learn as much as possible, work closely with your care team to establish a treatment plan. This will let your child check out and experience the world in a way that is just right for them.
Last modified: February 19, 2018