Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy : 

Cerebral Palsy By Tenika Cole

What is Cerebral Palsy? : 

What is Cerebral Palsy? Definition Cerebral Palsy is a general term that describes a group of disorders that appear during the first few years of life and affect a child's ability to coordinate body movements. These disorders are caused by damage to a child's brain early in the course of development. The damage can occur during fetal development, during the birth process or during the first few months after birth. Cerebral palsy ranges from mild to severe. Physical signs of cerebral palsy include weakness and floppiness of muscles or spasticity and rigidity. In some cases, neurological disorders — such as mental retardation or seizures — also occur in children with cerebral palsy.

Some Possible Causes : 

Some Possible Causes Maternal infection during pregnancy, such as rubella or other viral infections Severe jaundice in newborns, which may be caused by infection, severe bruising or problems with red blood cells due to ABO or Rh incompatibility — two incompatibilities between the blood of the mother and her fetus Abnormal brain development before birth, resulting from genetic causes or metabolic disorders Disturbance to brain circulation before birth, caused by an artery spasm or blood clot, similar to a stroke in adults

Signs of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy : 

Signs of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy The symptoms for Ataxic CP include the following: • Poor balance • Jerky speech patterns • Shakiness • Unsteady and wide- based walk • abnormal eye movements • Low muscle tone Patients with this condition appear limp and lifeless. The simple act of reaching out to touch or hold something can cause a tremor that worsens as they get closer to the object they’re trying to touch. Some refer to this as “intention tremors” because they occur when the person is trying to intentionally do something.

Signs of Spastic and Rigidity Cerebral Palsy : 

Signs of Spastic and Rigidity Cerebral Palsy Spastic cerebral palsy. causes muscles to stiffen, which makes movement difficult. It can affect both legs (spastic diplegia), affect one side of the body (spastic hemiplegia). In the most severe cases, all four limbs are affected (spastic quadriplegia).

Signs of Athetoic Cerebral Palsy : 

Signs of Athetoic Cerebral Palsy Athetoid movements can affect the muscles in the face, causing drooling. Speech Problems abnormal speech Speech can be slurred, garbled and difficult to understand. Involuntary movement of the face and mouth make it difficult to form sounds, and drooling often occurs with speech.

When to seek medical advice : 

When to seek medical advice If your baby seems to display weakness or paralysis in a limb or isn't developing motor skills at the expected times, talk to your family doctor or pediatrician. Every baby develops at his or her own pace, so there's no need to panic if your baby doesn't meet one of the monthly milestones described in a parenting book. But it's important to share any concerns about your baby's development with your doctor.

Tests and Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy : 

Tests and Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy Early signs of cerebral palsy may be present from birth, but it's often difficult to make a definite diagnosis during the first six months. Cerebral palsy is generally diagnosed by age 1 or 2. Computerized tomography (CT) scan. Images created with a CT scanner show the structure of your child's brain, as well as the presence and extent of any damage.   Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Other tests Some children may need genetic or metabolic tests to help rule out other conditions.

Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy : 

Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy Most children with cerebral palsy don't have any apparent problems during development in the womb and birth. But some factors may increase the risk of cerebral palsy: Babies that are premature or have a low birth weight  Fetuses in a feet-first position (breech presentation) at the beginning of labor Complicated labor and delivery Maternal infection during pregnancy Health problems in the mother during pregnancy that impair normal blood circulation to the uterus and placenta

Treatment : 

Treatment Physical therapy. Physical therapists work to help your child reach his or her maximum potential for functional independence through a variety of approaches including exercise, mobility training, orthotics or braces, and use of other equipment. Muscle training and exercises may help your child's strength, flexibility, balance, motor development and mobility, as well as ease care giving. Occupational therapy. Therapists in this field focus on the development of fine motor skills and self-care skills. Using exercises, facilitated practice, alternative strategies and adaptive equipment, they work to promote your child's independent participation in daily activities and routines in the home, school and community. They may also address difficulties with feeding and swallowing.   Speech therapy. A speech therapist works with your child on both the receptive (understanding) part of speech and language as well as the expressive part (talking). Speech therapists help improve your child's ability to speak clearly or communicate using alternative means such as an augmentative communication device or sign language. Speech therapists may also help with difficulties related to feeding and swallowing.   Vision and hearing aids. Depending on how severely your child's eyes are affected, he or she may need eyeglasses or surgery to correct a condition, such as cross-eye or other inability of the eyes to focus together properly (strabismus). Hearing aids may help correct any hearing problems.   Orthotics. A variety of orthotics or "braces" or "splints" may be recommended for your child. These may be used on your child's legs, arms or trunk. Some of these supports are used to help with function, such as improved walking. The purpose of others is for additional stretching or optimal positioning of a joint. You'll need to pay careful attention to your child's skin under the orthotics to make sure that the skin isn't becoming irritated. Just like your child needs new shoes as they grow, they may also need new orthotics over time. Your rehabilitation team can help you decide which type of orthotic is most useful at what time of your child's life.   Medications. These may include muscle relaxants to ease muscle spasticity and anticonvulsants to reduce seizures. Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) directly into spastic muscles also may be helpful. Surgery. Children with severe contractures or deformities may need surgery on tendons, bones or joints to place their arms and legs in their correct positions. This can make it easier to use a walker, braces or crutches. Children with severe spasticity who haven't responded to oral medications may also benefit from surgical procedures.

Prevention : 

Prevention Make sure you're immunized. Immunization against diseases such as rubella may prevent an infection that could cause fetal brain damage. Take care of yourself. The healthier you are heading into a pregnancy, the less likely you'll be to develop an infection that may result in cerebral palsy. Seek early and continuous prenatal care. Regular visits to your doctor during your pregnancy are a good way to reduce health risks to you and your unborn baby. Seeing your doctor regularly can help prevent premature birth, low birth weight and infections.

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