Caused due to the occurrence of damage in the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture, cerebral palsy is a permanent movement disorder. It appears in early childhood and the signs and symptoms vary from person to person.
CP occurs due to brain damage caused by injury or abnormal development of the brain during its development. Individuals suffering from this disorder have different problems, one might suffer from total paralysis and others may have slight movement tremors and require little assistance. It is not life threatening and the disorder does not aggravate but is incurable, hence becomes permanent. Cerebral Palsy is the most common movement disorder in children and about 2.1 – 3 per 1000 babies suffer from it all over the world. Three children out of 1000 in India suffer from this disorder and health experts have argued that they have average intelligence and should be included given mainstream education.
- Poor coordination
- Stiff muscles
- Weak muscles
- Problems in sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing and speaking
Identification of the disorder
Infants or babies suffering from cerebral palsy have difficulty in rolling over, crawling, walking or sitting. Trouble in thinking or reasoning occurs only in one-third of people suffering from CP.
The problem mostly develops during pregnancy but in some cases during childbirth or shortly after that. A child is more prone to this impairment if:
- it is a premature birth
- twins are born
- there are infections during pregnancy
- head trauma occurs in the first few years of life
However, it is believed that 2% cases are due to an inherited genetic cause.
With some immunization of the mother and efforts to prevent head injuries in children, it is partly preventable. But there is no cure for it.
Physical and speech therapy, medications and surgery have helped many leading them to have nearly normal adult life.
Odds of CP
Risks Of CP After Birth. After a child is born, there are still a few risk factors that may increase their likelihood of developing cerebral palsy. About 10-15 percent of cerebral palsy cases occur more than 28 days after birth.
Although there have been no general studies of life expectancy in people with cerebral palsy, most children affected by CP live between 30 and 70 years, depending on the severity of the condition. In general, a child with a mild case of CP usually lives longer than a child with mobility and intellectual limitations.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a blanket term for several disorders that affect normal, healthy movement. Over 10,000 children are diagnosed each year. Cerebral Palsy Defined?
Cerebral palsy (commonly referred to as CP) affects normal movement in different parts of the body and has many degrees of severity.
CP causes problems with posture, gait, muscle tone and coordination of movement.
The word “cerebral” refers to the brain’s cerebrum, which is the part of the brain that regulates motor function. “Palsy” describes the paralysis of voluntary movement in certain parts of the body.
Some children with CP also have coexisting conditions, such as vision and hearing impairment. These disorders are caused by brain damage and are not a direct result of one’s cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy does not generally affect life expectancy. Depending on how the condition is managed, motor skills can improve or decline over time. While symptoms and severity vary from case to case, most people diagnosed with this condition go on to lead a rich, fulfilling life.
The brain controls all types of motor functions that allow people to live as independently as possible. Motor control can be voluntary, such as reaching out to shake someone’s hand. It can also be involuntary, such as the reflex when a doctor taps a spot just below a patient’s knee.
When the motor control centers in the brain are damaged, voluntary and involuntary motor skills do not function properly. This can present an array of challenges related to one’s ability to walk, talk or complete everyday tasks independently.
Facts and Statistics on CP
Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood physical disability. Recent estimates conclude that nearly 764,000 people in the U.S. have CP.
There are 4 main types of cerebral palsy: Spastic, Athetoid/Dyskinetic, Ataxic and Mixed. Spastic CP is the most common, making up about 70% of cases.
CP is a non-progressive disorder, meaning it will not get worse over time. Most cases can be effectively managed with treatment and continued care.
2 in 3 people with cerebral palsy can walk. While some children with CP require mobility aids, many are able to walk independently.
3 in 4 people with CP are able to verbally communicate.
Often, assistive devices are used to help improve speech and hearing.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the fetal or infant brain. It occurs when there is neurological damage before, during, or within five years of birth that prevents the brain from developing properly.
Damage to the parts of the brain that control motor function causes children with CP to struggle with posture, balance and movement. Although this disability affects muscle tone and movement, it isn’t caused by problems with the actual muscles or nerves — it is strictly the result of developmental brain damage.
The first question many parents have following a recent CP diagnosis is what could have caused their child’s brain injury. It’s important that parents work with doctors and specialists in order to conclude which factors may have contributed to their child’s condition.
Common causes of CP include:
> Bacterial and viral infections
> Bleeding in the brain (hemorrhaging)
> A lack of oxygen to the brain before, during or after birth (asphyxia)
> Prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol, mercury poisoning from fish and toxoplasmosis from raw/undercooked meat
> Head injuries sustained during birth or in the first few years of infancy
Cerebral Palsy Caused by Birth Injuries
Some children develop cerebral palsy as the result of a birth injury caused by medical negligence. While rare, these cases are usually the product of a delivery room meltdown. Parents who suspect their child’s condition is due to negligence on the part of the doctors, nurses or hospital facility may wish to pursue a free legal case evaluation.
A cerebral palsy lawyer can evaluate the details of your case in order to determine if there is enough evidence to suggest medical neglect or malpractice took place. For parents who are considering filing for a case evaluation, it is essential to seek out an attorney specializing in birth injury cases caused by negligence.