Cerebral Palsy refers to a set of conditions (non-contagious and non-progressive) wherein a brain trauma is adversely affecting a child’s motor skills. The term “cerebral” refers to the brain, particularly the cerebrum, while the term “palsy” refers to the lack of control on muscle movements.
The cause of cerebral palsy remains uncertain even with the advancements of medical technology. But study suggests that it may be a result of brain injury, trauma, or disease before birth (around 75%), during delivery (around 5%), and right after birth and up to three years of age (around 15%). Each year, the United States has an estimate ratio of 1:2 diagnosed children with cerebral palsy in every 1,000 births.
The brain damage during these stages may be due to brain infection like meningitis, asphyxia (deficiency of oxygen before birth and during delivery), head injury or trauma, hypoxia, prematurity, multiple pregnancy, infantile jaundice, stroke, Rh incompatibility, pregnant mothers with infection, low birth weight, and genetic disorder.
There are 4 major classifications of Cerebral Palsy. They are:
1. Spastic – due to muscle stiffness (70-80%)
2. Athetoid or Dyskinetic – due to lack of balance (40%)
3. Ataxic – due to balance disorder and some depth perception difficulties (10%)
4. Mixed – combination of the 2 or 3 classification of cerebral palsy
Symptoms of this illness may include seizures, developmental delays, bone structure deformities, muscle tone and movement abnormalities, mental retardation, speech problems, and infant-like reflex persistence.
Cerebral palsy has no available cure at this moment. But there are some treatments to help improve the condition of the child. This includes occupational therapy, medication regimen, surgery, physical therapy, and more.
Because it may be uncertain to actually point out the causes of cerebral palsy, following certain guidelines and precautions may help prevent the condition. It is best for pregnant mothers to seek proper prenatal care and avoid alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and unnecessary medications. Before pregnancy, get a test for measles immunity. And finally for the baby, routine vaccinations are highly recommended and take safety measures to avoid head injuries.