What is cerebral palsy?
This is the question that most of us can not answer. Although we already heard or read the words, but we are still unaware of what it really means as well as its possible implications. That is why it is important that we know pertinent information about this condition. There can be an instance that one of our loved ones can be affected by it, thus we already knew what it is as well as the possible treatments.
Let us first define each term. Cerebral is the medical term for human brain, whereas palsy means posture or movement disorder. In other words, it is a group of conditions which are characterized by damage on certain areas of the brain, resulting to movement and posture disorder. It is more of immobility or lack of full control of body's motor functions, particularly on muscle control and coordination.
The following signs may be present on an individual affected by such condition, although such signs depend on the affected areas of the brain:
o Coordination and balance problems;
o Difficulty in controlling as well as maintaining posture;
o Statistics show that 1 out of 3 children affected is said to be epileptic;
o Difficulty on drinking, eating, swallowing, and speaking; and
o Certain learning disabilities.
It is most common on children. About 1 out of 400 children that is born in developed countries is affected by this disorder. In United Sates, there are 764,000 children and adults estimated to show one or more signs. Meanwhile, there are about 8,000 infants and babies diagnosed with said condition every year. Although there are medical advances that are made every year, the trend has not declined for the last 60 years.
The cause of developing cerebral palsy to children has yet to be determined, although there are contributing factors which includes infections like meningitis, brain hemorrhage, and shortage of oxygen. It may happen before, during, or after birth and the severity of the condition will depend on the damaged done to the brain.
It is categorized into 3 main types, which are as follows:
o Spastic CP- characterized by stiff muscles, making an affected individual difficult to execute movements such as extending his arms and legs and difficulty to stand without being unaided. It is accounted for nearly 70 to 80 percent of all incidents.
o Athetoid CP- the damage is on the cerebellum area of the brain, which is responsible for maintaining body posture and coordinated body movements. It is accounted for the 10 percent of all incidents.
o Ataxic CP- characterized by poor movement coordination and low muscle tone. Individuals with this type look unstable and shaky. It is apparent when he walks. They also suffer from shaky hands which makes difficult for them to hold a pen and write.
If you have a loved one with this condition, you should take care of them for they need that loving as well as understanding for their condition. There are available therapies for him / her-it is still possible for him / her to live normally like other individuals. With you care and support, it is possible.