Cerebral palsy refers to a set of problems affecting mobility, muscle tone, and posture. It is caused by injury to the growing, immature brain, which usually happens before birth.
Symptoms and signs develop during childhood or preschool. Cerebral palsy, in general, involves poor mobility linked with increased reflexes, floppiness or spasticity of the limbs and trunk, odd posture, involuntary motions, unstable walking, or some combination of these. Various treatments are used and types of cp medications can help remedy this lifelong disease.
People with cerebral palsy may have eating difficulties and eye muscle imbalance, in which both eyes do not concentrate on the same object. They may also have a restricted range of motion at various joints of their body as a result of muscular tightness.
Cerebral palsy causes and effects on function vary widely. Some persons with cerebral palsy can walk on their own, while others require help. Some people are intellectually disabled, whereas others are not. There may also be epilepsy, blindness, or deafness. Cerebral palsy is a chronic condition. Although there is no cure, therapies and medications can assist in improving function.
Cerebral palsy is caused by faulty brain development or brain injury during development. This normally occurs before a child is born, although it can happen during birth or early infancy. In many situations, the root reason is unknown. Many factors can contribute to issues with brain development. Some examples are:
- Mutations in genes that cause genetic diseases or variations in brain development
- Infections in the mother that impact the developing fetus
- A fetal stroke occurs when the blood flow to the growing brain is disrupted.
- Bleeding into the brain when pregnant or as a newborn
- Infections in infants that induce inflammation in or around the brain
- An infant’s traumatic head injury, such as from a car accident, a fall, or physical abuse
- Lack of oxygen to the brain caused by difficult labor or delivery, albeit birth-related hypoxia is far less prevalent than previously assumed.
There are also several risk elements involved. These include:
- Maternal well-being. Certain illnesses or hazardous exposures during pregnancy might greatly raise the baby’s chance of cerebral palsy. Inflammation caused by illness or fever can harm the developing brain of an unborn baby.
- Cytomegalovirus. This common virus causes flu-like symptoms and can cause birth abnormalities if a mother contracts it for the first time while pregnant.
- Measles. A vaccination can protect against this viral illness.
- Herpes. During pregnancy, this illness can be transferred from mother to child, harming the womb and placenta.
- Syphilis. This is a bacterial illness spread through sexual contact.
- Toxoplasmosis. A parasite found in contaminated food, dirt, and sick cats’ waste causes this illness.
- Zika virus. This virus is carried by mosquito bites and has the potential to harm prenatal brain development.
Additionally, the following illnesses in a newborn infant can dramatically increase the chance of cerebral palsy:
- Meningitis caused by bacteria. Inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord is caused by this bacterial infection.
- Virus-induced encephalitis. This viral infection induces comparable inflammation in the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord, resulting in severe or uncontrolled jaundice.
- Pregnancy and birth factors. While each has a modest potential influence, additional pregnancy or birth variables associated with increased cerebral palsy risk include:
- Birth weight is low. Babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds are more likely to develop cerebral palsy. As the birth weight decreases, so does the danger.
- Premature delivery. Premature babies are more likely to develop cerebral palsy. The earlier a child is born, the higher the chance of cerebral palsy.
- Complications with the delivery. Labor and delivery complications may raise the chance of cerebral palsy.
Most occurrences of cerebral palsy cannot be avoided; however, risks can be reduced. If you’re pregnant or intending to get pregnant, you may take the following precautions to stay healthy and avoid pregnancy complications:
- Check your vaccination status. Getting immunized against illnesses like rubella, especially before becoming pregnant, may help avoid an infection that might cause fetal brain damage.
- Improve your overall health. The healthier you are before being pregnant, the less likely you are to have an infection that causes cerebral palsy.
- Seek early and ongoing prenatal care. Regular medical appointments during your pregnancy are an excellent approach to decreasing health risks to both you and your unborn child. Visiting your doctor regularly might help you avoid early birth, poor birth weight, and infections.
- Lead a healthier lifestyle. Avoid drinking, smoking, and using illicit substances.
Cerebral palsy can be induced by brain injury in childhood in rare cases. Maintain overall safety. Prevent head injuries by giving your child a car seat, a bicycle helmet, bed rails, and adequate monitoring.