Cerebral palsy is a term used in universal format, describing a group of disorders that can occur within the first few years of life. These disorders can cause many cerebral palsy symptoms in areas such as children’s ability to move and coordinate their body. This is due to weakness in muscles, causing them to be weak or stiff. Two to four out of every thousand births taking place in Europe and the U.S. result in cerebral palsy. The cause of this is generally injury to the brain during the early stages of development.
Treating Cerebral Palsy
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are only ways to manage the symptoms. Finding the proper therapy for your child can make a large difference and reduce the cerebral palsy symptoms.There is a large variation in cerebral palsy symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:
- Stiffened muscles
- Reflexes that are exaggerated
- One leg or foot dragging while walking
- Difficulty in muscle coordination while trying to perform a voluntary movement
- Drooling, trouble with swallowing, speaking, and sucking
- Shakes, trembles, tremors
- Difficulty with precise tasks (writing, shirt buttoning, shoe tying, etc)
Cerebral palsy symptoms should not worsen over time because the brain injury that causes it does not change. Mental retardation and/or seizures may occur in children that have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Many cases of cerebral palsy are cause by complications or problems before a baby is born. Some cases have been linked to infections and/or brain injuries within the first few years of life. Some of these potential causes may include:
- Lack of Oxygen
- Severe Jaundice
- Other Factors
Many infectious diseases have been linked to cerebral palsy (whether it’s in the mother or in the infant within the first few months of life). Illnesses within the mother that may cause cerebral palsy include:
- Chicken Pox
- German Measles
- Toxoplasmosis (cat scratch fever)
Illnesses within the infant that have been linked to cerebral palsy may include:
- Viral encephalitis
Strokes can happen to anyone, of any age. Many associate strokes with elderly people, but they can happen to anyone. When clots in the placenta begin to interrupt blood flow to a fetus, strokes can occur.
Lack of Oxygen
Although it was once believed to be the sole cause of cerebral palsy, lack of oxygen during birth is now only held responsible for a small number of cases.
Newborns commonly come down with jaundice. However, if this condition is left untreated, it can become severe enough to permanently harm the brain and possibly result in cerebral palsy.
There are some risk factors that you may want to be aware of that can increase the likeliness of cerebral palsy. These include:
- Low Birth Weight
- Premature Birth
- Breech Birth (feet first)
- Exposure to Toxins
- Multiple Births
Cerebral palsy symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the condition.