You are sure to have heard of cerebral palsy, but you may not know what it actually is and how it is caused. So, let us explore the topic in more detail.
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What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of disorders that affect muscle tone and movement or posture.
Typically, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement. That can consist of exaggerated reflexes, involuntary movements, spasticity or floppiness of the limbs and trunk, unsteady walking, unusual posture, or a combination of those things.
People with cerebral palsy can experience problems with swallowing. They can also have difficulty in focusing both their eyes on the same object, due to eye muscle imbalance, and experience reduced motion in their joints, which is caused by muscle stiffness.
The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy appear early on, during infancy.
However, the effects of cerebral palsy can greatly differ from one person to another. For instance, some people can walk while others require assistance and some people have intellectual disabilities while others do not. Some people can even be blind, deaf, or have epilepsy.
While treatments are available to help improve people with cerebral palsy’s function, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. It is a lifelong condition.
How is cerebral palsy caused?
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage that occurs to the developing brain. That usually occurs prior to birth, but it can happen at the time of birth or during early infancy.
Many factors can cause brain development problems, but sometimes the cause is not known.
Here are some of the common causes of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused Due to a Birth Injury
Unfortunately, a brain injury at birth that causes cerebral palsy can be caused by medical malpractice or medical negligence. In such cases, families can file a cerebral palsy lawsuit to receive financial compensation. The first step is to consult an experienced lawyer.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Gene Mutations
Genetic disorders or changes in brain development can be caused by gene mutations. In turn, those factors can lead to an unborn child or infant developing cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Maternal Infections
When women experience infections while pregnant, it can affect the developing fetus. So, maternal infections can contribute to unborn children and infants developing cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by a Fetal Stroke
A fetal stroke happens when there is a disruption of blood supply to an unborn child’s developing brain. If that should occur, the child could develop cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Bleeding into the Brain
Cerebral palsy can happen when unborn children or newborns experience bleeding into their brains.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Inflammation of the Brain
Inflammation in or around the brain can cause someone to develop cerebral palsy. Infant infections can cause such inflammation.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by a Lack of Oxygen to the Brain
Birth-related asphyxia means unborn children lack oxygen to their brains during difficult labor or delivery. When there is a lack of oxygen to the brain, it can cause cerebral palsy. However, this factor is a much less common cause of cerebral palsy than once thought.
Treating Cerebral Palsy
Although no cure is available, people with cerebral palsy can receive treatments to improve their daily functioning and enhance their quality of life.
The specific course of treatment will depend on individuals’ particular symptoms and needs, and their needs could change over time.
Often, people with cerebral palsy require lifelong care with the assistance of a pediatrician, a physiatrist, medicine, and perhaps a pediatric neurologist. People with cerebral palsy may also need the help of mental health specialists.