Cerebral Palsy – The Development and Treatment

cerebral palsyCerebral palsy is one of the common brain diseases that present very early.

Many individuals acquire the condition while they are still in their mother’s womb. There are several risk factors involved so people should be cautious about these. Parents should also take care of their growing baby especially during pregnancy. Planning the pregnancy and making the necessary preparations will eliminate the risks. If the problem is already present, individuals can still cope together with their families.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy or CP is one of the brain diseases that refers to a group of problems that affects the way a person moves or acts. The posture, balance and coordination of the affected individual are also affected. Cerebral palsy is also known as brain paralysis because the motor activities and muscle tone of the individual are compromised due to the damage present in the brain. The individual can be diagnosed with the problem during infancy or in his childhood years. One of the main indicators that a person might be suffering from the condition is delayed progress and not being able to reach developmental milestones in time.

Individuals with cerebral palsy will present several symptoms that might also be noticeable in other brain diseases such as problems in coordination and muscle control, muscle stiffness, uncontrolled movement, coordination, difficulty in speech, difficulty swallowing, problems in balance, poor muscle tone, problems in learning, bowel control problems, bladder control problems, dental or tooth problems, hearing problems, vision problems, digestive anomalies, difficulty breathing, seizures and mental retardation. The extent and severity of the symptoms can vary greatly among individuals.

The Kinds of Cerebral Palsy

Some brain diseases are categorized into types based on the symptoms shown by the patient. There are three main kinds of cerebral palsy namely spastic, dyskinetic and mixed. Spastic or pyramidal cerebral palsy refers to stiff muscles and having involuntary movements. The type is further classified according to the affected region or body part.

Some people are described as diplegic, quadriplegic or hemiplegic. The dyskinetic or extrapyramidal type is the second kind that affects movement and coordination. Under this type, there are two subtypes namely athetoid and ataxic. The athetoid subtype is described by jerky movements of the mouth, face and other parts of the body.

The ataxic subtype is described as having problems with coordination, gait and depth perception. It will be difficult for people with this subtype to perform tasks especially those that require fine motor skills. The third kind of cerebral palsy is the mixed which features both athetoid and spastic or other mixtures.

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What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

These brain diseases can be triggered by a variety of factors. Many experts agree that brain injury or damage is one of the primary causes of the problem. The injury can be acquired while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. When the brain is still developing, the baby might have experienced trauma or the mother might have been taking contraindicated substances that led to the damage. Some infants acquire the injury due to difficult delivery. The head or brain might suffer damage as the fetus passes through the uterine canal. Lack of oxygen during fetal development can also cause the problem.

There are several risk factors that can lead to cerebral palsy among individuals like having an infection, thyroid problems and seizures. Birth problems particularly the kinds that involve the head, spinal cord, lungs or metabolism are also risk elements. Other occurrences that can lead to the disorder include severe jaundice, premature birth, genetic conditions, incompatibility in the rH factor, having multiple births, head injury and bleeding.

Treating Cerebral Palsy

Although there is no ultimate treatment that will remove all the symptoms of cerebral palsy, patients and families can still work together to boost the confidence of the affected individual and guide him to gain independence. The person can maximize performance and function through therapies. Have the patient attend physical therapy sessions, occupation therapy meetings and speech or language therapy classes. There are also medications that will alleviate severe symptoms and provide comfort and relief.

Several patients with cerebral palsy actually cope with the condition well and live long. They can also perform several tasks or even engage in sports by following the guidelines set by the doctor and using different techniques and aids as necessary.