Cerebral palsy is a kind of birth injury, more precisely, a neurological condition that impacts movement and balance in the child. There are many facts that parents must understand when their child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Knowing more about the condition allows them to help their child lead a normal life. CP is one of the most prevalent birth injuries happening in babies. According to data and stats about this condition extracted from recent population-based studies, it is found that CP occurs in 1 to nearly four per 1000 children or live birth. In the United States, one out of 345 children is identified with cerebral palsy. The chances of cerebral palsy are more significant in children born premature or with low birth weight. Though the condition is prevalent, there are still misconceptions and knowledge lapses in the general population. But this is what this article intends to address today. Here are some facts that you must know about cerebral palsy.
It can only occur at the time of birth
As it is categorized among birth injuries, you cannot get cerebral palsy when you are an adult. This motor disability happens at the time, before or shortly after childbirth. Often milder forms of cerebral palsy go unnoticed until the later stages of development when it becomes more pronounced. Similarly, you cannot get cerebral palsy by touch as it is not contagious. In response to the prevalence of this issue and the lack of awareness among parents, many online resources have been developed to aid the victims. Online websites like Cerebral Palsy Guide offer a wealth of resources on the disease, its kinds, symptoms and causes, treatments, and much more.
Causes of cerebral palsy
CP occurs when brain damage occurs to the upper part or cerebrum of the brain. This part is responsible for memory, the ability to learn and communicate. As a result, kids with cerebral palsy lag in skills managed by the brain’s damaged parts. In addition to lack of oxygen, periventricular leukomalacia is also the cause of CP. It can also be caused by abnormal brain development during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. Intracranial hemorrhage or stroke in the fetus can also cause cerebral palsy. In some cases, brain damage can also occur 28 days after birth, known as acquired cerebral palsy.
CP is not an intellectual disability
Cerebral palsy is related to movement and balance, but children may demonstrate impacted intellectual ability due to poor brain functioning. However, CP is not an intellectual disability; therefore, people with cerebral palsy can show even above average learning and intellectual ability.
Factors that enhance the chance of Cerebral palsy in kids
Certain factors increase the chance of getting cerebral palsy during or after birth. Here are some of them.
Baby is born too small, born prematurely or underweight, born with a twin or other multiple babies, and conceived by Vitro fertilization. Moreover, assisted reproductive technology, complications at the time of birth, or being born to a mother with infection during pregnancy are some factors that can amplify a baby’s chance to get this condition.
Most commonly found cerebral palsy
Most commonly found cerebral palsy in children in spastic CP. It accounts for 75% to 85% of total CP diagnosed cases. In this condition, the muscles of the baby are stiff, which impacts their movement immensely. The simple tasks of walking or picking objects become highly challenging for such kids.
Co-occurring conditions with cerebral palsy
Children with cerebral palsy might also have other co-occurring conditions due to brain injury. For example, about 4 in ten kids have epilepsy, and 1 in ten have autism spectrum disorder. In this way, cerebral palsy becomes even more dangerous over time.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy
The symptoms of CP can vary in different kids. The most commonly occurring symptoms include difficulty controlling bowel movements and bladder, seizure and epilepsy, a slow movement of limbs, behavioral issues, severe dependency, and antisocial behavior. Moreover, some kids also demonstrate speech and language issues, pain, and sensory impairments.
People with CP can live a life of their own
Even though there is no perpetual cure for cerebral palsy, early interventions help treat the symptoms. Normally, people with cerebral palsy can live independently with the proper treatment. The choice of medical treatments and interventions depends on the child’s needs and changes and evolves as they grow out of childhood. The parents whose kid has cerebral palsy should be to equip them with as many skills as possible to improve the quality of their life. Their skills must be geared towards making them independent members of society.
Experiencing physical pain is common
A quarter of the children with cerebral palsy report experiencing physical pain. This occurs due to abnormal use of muscles and joints. The number of people who experience physical pain increases as they grow old. For instance, opposite to the number of kids feeling pain, 84% of the adults report this issue. It is because, over time, improper use of muscles leads to wear and tear.
Cerebral palsy is not genetic
Due to grave misconceptions about this condition, it is referred to as a genetic disease. As a result, people living with or the parents whose child has CP are often schematized for something that was not their fault. In reality, it is like any other medical condition that is neither genetic nor contracted by touch.
Motor conditions of people with CP can be improved
CP is a lifelong condition, but it does not imply that you cannot do anything to make it easier for your kid. Through intensive training that includes repetition, neuroplasticity in individuals with CP can be improved. Their motor functions also improve over time. The earlier you intervene with therapy and medication, the easier it becomes to increase the plasticity. In fact, kids’ brains have greater plasticity levels than an adult’s brain, so childhood interventions bear significantly positive results.
Cerebral palsy affects everyone differently, so no two cases will be the same. But knowing about it is the first step for the parents to decide what they must do for their kid. There is no denying that the brain damage that occurred at childbirth will stay with the child. But early interventions, medications to treat the symptoms, and therapies for motor functions can improve the quality of life for individuals with cerebral palsy. By taking a tailored approach to each case, experts can make a treatment plan for your kid that makes their life easier.