What is Cerebral Palsy?
A group of disorders in which muscle movement and coordination are affected is known as cerebral palsy. In a lot of cases, hearing, vision, and sensation also tend to get affected. If we were to break down the two words and understand it better, what it tells us is that ‘cerebral’ means something that has to do with the brains and ‘palsy’ means some sort of issues with body movement and weakness.
There are different types of cerebral palsy that affects the brains. The movement disorders are caused based on which type you are affected by. The different types are:
- Spastic cerebral palsy
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy
- Ataxic cerebral palsy
- Mixed cerebral palsy
These different types affect people in a different manner. A neurologist is best equipped to help understand this.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
The cerebral palsy Symptoms vary from individual to individual and also differ in terms of being mild to severe. The way it affects someone also differs. The thing with Symptoms of this disease is that it can become less severe or more severe as time passes and that it also varies depending on which part of the brain has been affected. Some of the common cerebral palsy Signs and Symptoms are:
- Delays related to motor skill milestones like sitting up alone, rolling over, and crawling.
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Problems with swallowing and excessive drooling
- Increase in involuntary movements and sensation of tremors
- Stiff muscles exaggerated reflexes and spasticity
- The muscle tone is too stiff or too floppy
- Neurological problems such as intellectual disabilities, seizures, and blindness.
- Difficulty in walking
Who is at Risk?
The individuals who are prone to cerebral palsy Risk Factors are having said that, there are certain cases in which an individual might be more at risk of getting this disease.
- Having low weight at the time of birth
- Children who have had a premature birth
- Exposure to toxic substances such as methylmercury while in the womb of the mother
- Being born as a twin or a triplet
- Having had a breech birth which essentially means that the baby’s feet or buttocks came out first
- Having a low Apgar score which is a score that is used to evaluate the physical health of the child at the time of birth
- When a mother’s blood Rh type is incompatible with the child’s blood Rh type. This is also known as Rh incompatibility.
All of these however varies from individual to individual and it is not the same for everyone. But it is always best to be cautious if you fall under any of these buckets.
Cerebral Palsy Causes
The cerebral palsy Causes stems from the injury to a child’s developing brain or abnormal brain development. However, the exact thing that Causes this is not known, but we have discussed some possible Causes for you down below:
- If the infant has suffered from severe jaundice after birth
- A lack of oxygen also known as asphyxia neonatorum to the brain during the time of labor and delivery of the child.
- Maternal infections such as herpes simplex and German measles.
- Bleeding into the brain or intracranial hemorrhage
- Brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis
- Gene mutations that often lead to the child’s brain developing abnormally
- Head injuries as a child due to factors such as child abuse, a fall, or some sort of accident
How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?
For cerebral palsy Diagnosis, a doctor will perform various tests and exams to evaluate the Symptoms. Below, for your reference, we have mentioned how the process of Diagnosing this looks like as well:
- A doctor will first and foremost look at doing your complete medical history will perform a physical exam that also includes a very detailed neurological exam and then will recommend the way forward.
- A cerebral palsy blood test may be done to rule out possibilities such as a bleeding disorder.
- An EEG or an electroencephalogram is done to evaluate the electrical activity that is happening inside the brain. This is done when someone is showing signs of epilepsy which results in seizures.
- A CT scan is done to understand if there is any damage that has happened to the brain.
- An MRI scan helps to reveal very detailed images of the brain. This helps in identifying any sort of injuries or abnormalities inside the brain.
- A cranial ultrasound is a comparatively inexpensive and quick method to get the basic images of the brain by using high-frequency sound waves.
- Additional tests that a doctor may recommend is done to understand deafness, any delay in speech, blurred vision in one or both eyes, movement disorders, and intellectual disabilities.
These are some of the most common and widely practised ways to Diagnose this Disease called cerebral palsy which affects millions of children around the world. These methods of Diagnosis are done by specialists as this is a very sensitive disease or disorder that has to be dealt with the utmost amount of care and attention. It is best to consult a doctor at the earliest if you see your child showing any signs of the above-mentioned symptoms. There are a lot of support groups around the world which is specially designed for people suffering from this and their family members.
How is Cerebral Palsy Treated?
Cerebral Palsy Treatment is done with the aim of Preventing complications and improving limitations in the child. These Treatments may include a lot of medications, assistive aids, and surgery.
- Certain doctors will prescribe medicine for cerebral palsy which are usually muscle relaxants and oral anticonvulsants.
- Surgery is recommended in some cases to help relieve pain and increase mobility in the affected.
- Other types of Treatment such as speech therapy, recreational therapy, and physical therapy may also be recommended depending on the need of the individual.
Care.Fit is your friendly neighborhood health care provider that has in its portfolio of services, consultation services for all your health needs. They have on their team the best cerebral palsy specialist doctors from across the country for your medical requirements. All their services along with the list of doctors are available on their app and website. You should consider them if you are looking for a good cerebral palsy cure.
How can Cerebral Palsy be Prevented?
The main issue with a Disease like cerebral palsy is that a lot of the Symptoms that cause this cannot be Prevented. However, when a woman is pregnant or is planning on getting pregnant then there are some precautions that can be taken against this:
- Make sure that you receive adequate prenatal care
- Get vaccinated for Diseases that could potentially cause fetal brain damage. One such is rubella.
- Make sure that you are scheduling and attending regular doctor appointments during your pregnancy to help Prevent factors such as low birth weight, premature birth, and infections.