Description of Cerebral palsy
An abnormality of the brain that usually occurs before or during birth and results in severe physical, and often mental, disabilities.
Persons most commonly affected by Cerebral palsy - detected after birth or in infancy and the person is affected for life. Both sexes are affected by congenital cerebral palsy, but it is more common in boys, and the incidence is in the order of 2 to 2 1/2 per thousand births.
Less commonly, the illness may arise after birth due to a severe infection or trauma, and this type affects equal numbers of girls and boys.
Organ or part of body involved in Cerebral palsy - brain, muscles.
Symptoms and indications of Cerebral palsy
The severity of the symptoms varies greatly. The newborn baby may be floppy and have difficulty sucking but characteristically the child shows spastic paralysis of the limbs. Also, there may be involuntary writhing movements called athetosis, and balance and posture are also affected.
There is often mental sub normality and speech impairment and sometimes epilepsy. Since a baby is closely monitored from birth, cerebral palsy is usually suspected or detected early on. A parent concerned in any way about the health of a baby should always call a doctor.
Treatment of Cerebral palsy
The treatment required depends upon the severity of the symptoms and the degree to which the child is affected. The outlook is generally favorable and many children are able to enjoy a reason- able or good quality of life.
Treatment may involve some surgery but mainly physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy and special education. It is now considered best to encourage the child to lead as normal and active a life as possible.
Also, to expect and help the child to achieve as many aims and goals in life as possible, in spite of disability.
Causes and risk factors of Cerebral palsy
It may arise as a developmental defect in the foetus due to genetic factors, or due to a viral infection during pregnancy. A lack of oxygen during a difficult labor or other trauma to the infant can result in cerebral palsy.
After birth, the condition can result from hemolytic disease of the new born or infection of the brain e.g. meningitis.