What is CEREBRAL PALSY (CP)?
Cerebral Palsy is a term describing a condition where a trauma caused to the brain adversely affects the motor skills of a child. CEREBRAL refers to the BRAIN; and PALSY is “Lack of required muscle control”. Putting it together it is “Lack of muscle coordination caused by trauma to the Brain”.
It may be said that CP is a condition caused by injury to the brain or nerves during, before or shortly after the delivery of the child. It may be result of some injury or disease caused during the first three years of childhood.
TYPES OF CEREBRAL PALSY
CP may be classified into four categories:
o Spastic-. Caused due to muscle stiffness which makes reaching or walking difficult.
o Athetoid (or dyskinetic)- Caused due some lack of balance in walking and also muscle tics.
o Ataxic – This includes balance disorder and some difficulty in perception of depth.
o Mixed- Children with mixed CP have both the muscle stiffness of spastic cerebral palsy and lack of balance in movement of athetoid cerebral palsy.
o Delayed developmental milestones
o Persistence of infant like reflexes
o Abnormality of muscle tone
o Abnormality of movements
o Deformities of bone structure.
o Mental retardation
o Problems of speech
CAUSES OF CP
Brain damage any time in the first three years of life may cause acquired CP. Damages such as Brain infection (e.g. Meningitis) and Head injury(such as a fall),and other causes such as genetic disorder, blood clot etc..
CONGENITAL CP occurs at birth. Common Causes are infections during pregnancy, infantile jaundice, Rh incompatibility, shortage of oxygen in brain , trauma to head at the time of labor and delivery, and stroke .Babies with low birth weight have more chances of developing CP.
At present no cure for CP is available. But a proper and methodical treatment does help to improvement the condition and helps the child to attain his/ her potential. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, surgery, braces etc are some of the treatment and therapies that may help. An early and continuous treatment of CP may lessen the chances of other disabilities and problems that may be caused by the condition.
The actual cause of CP may not always be known.
Taking following precautions may help:
o Seek proper prenatal care
o Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and unnecessary use of drugs during pregnancy
o Testing for measles immunity before pregnancy
o Routine vaccinations of baby
o Preventing head injuries