Cerebral palsy is a collective term used to denote a group of disorders that mainly affect muscle movement and coordination. In most of the cases vision, hearing and sensation is also affected. Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of motor disabilities in childhood. 2-3 cerebral palsy cases are reported in every 1000 children.
Abnormal development of brain and injury can cause cerebral palsy. During the course of disease the part of the brain that controls movement, coordination and posture gets damaged. The damage may occur before birth, during birth or soon after birth. Children born with cerebral palsy show visible symptoms either in few month or can take up to 3-4 years.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
The symptoms vary from person to person and it can cause major health issues if not treated in the initial stages. The symptoms range from mild to severe. The symptoms become more severe when cerebral palsy is associated with other problems.
The most common symptoms include:
- Delay or difficulty in movement like crawling and rolling over
- Stiff muscles
- Delay in speech development
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Involuntary movement
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty walking
- Intellectual disability
Cerebral Palsy Causes
Cerebral palsy is mainly caused due to abnormality in brain development or due to the damage caused to the developing brain. In most of the cases the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not known. The most common factors that can lead to cerebral palsy include:
- Lack of supply of oxygen to the brain during labor
- Severe jaundice after birth
- Maternal infections like German measles and herpes simplex
- Brain infections like encephalitis and meningitis
- Internal bleeding in the brain
- Head injury or accidental injury
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are different types of cerebral palsy that affects different parts of your brain:
- Spastic cerebral palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Around 80% of the people with cerebral palsy are affected with spastic cerebral palsy. This kind generally causes stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes and makes it difficult for you to walk. The symptoms either affect one side or the entire body.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy patients have trouble controlling their body movements. This generally leads to involuntary and abnormal movement in arms, legs and hands. In few cases the face and tongue also gets affected and make it difficult for the patient to walk, talk or to swallow.
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy
Hypotonic cerebral palsy causes diminished muscle tone and overly relaxed muscles. The movement of your arms and legs become easier and appear floppy like a rag doll. Babies with hypotonic cerebral palsy face breathing problems and their muscles become weak as they grow old. Poor reflexes and walking abnormality is also noticed in few patients.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy
It is one of the least common types of cerebral palsy. This is characterized by involuntary muscle movements that get disorganized and clumsy. Problem in coordination and balance is generally reported by patients suffering with ataxic cerebral palsy.
- Mixed cerebral palsy
Mixed cerebral palsy is a kind of diseases where the symptoms of different types of cerebral palsy are seen in a patient.
Cerebral Palsy Prevention
There are many factors that are responsible for cerebral palsy that cannot be prevented. However, if you are pregnant or planning for a baby you can take certain preventive measures like vaccination. Vaccination can be done to prevent the diseases that can cause fetal brain damage. Rubella is one of the common diseases that can cause fetal brain damage.