This is a disorder of movement, posture or muscle tone which is caused by damage that happens to the immature, developing brain and most often this is happening before the birth. The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy appear during infancy or preschool years. The cerebral palsy causes abnormal posture, unsteady walking, involuntary movements, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunks, abnormal reflexes or some combinations of these. Those people who suffer from this disorder can have problems swallowing and commonly they have muscle imbalance (this means that their eyes do not focus on the same object). It is known that people who suffer from cerebral palsy can have reduced range of motion at various joints of their bodies due to the muscle stiffness. The effect of this disorder on functional abilities varies greatly. There are some people affected with cerebral palsy who can walk while others cannot. Some eople can have intellectual disabilities while other people show normal or near p– normal intellectual capacity. Also deafness, blindness or epilepsy can be present.
Cerebral palsy symptoms and causes
Symptoms: The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly. Here are coordination and movement problems associated with cerebral palsy:
- Difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon
- Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
- Difficulty with sucking or eating
- Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
- Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors – like gait with knees crossing, a wide gait or an asymmetrical gait
- Facilitating one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
- Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling
- Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
- Tremors or involuntary movements
- Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Stiff muscles with normal reflexes (rigidity)
- Alternations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
The disability that is linked to cerebral palsy can be limited primarily to one limb or one side of the body but also it can affect the whole body. You should know that the brain disorder that is causing cerebral palsy is not changing with time so the symptoms of this condition worsen with age. The muscle rigidity and muscle shortening can worsen if they are not treated aggressively. The brain abnormalities which are associated with the cerebral palsy can lead to other neurological problems. Those people can have:
- Urinary incontinence
- Mental health (psychiatric) conditions
- Oral diseases
- Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
- Intellectual disabilities
- Difficulty with vision and hearing
Cerebral palsy symptoms and causes
Causes: The cerebral palsy is caused by disruption or abnormality in the brain development which is usually before the child is born. In many cases, the exact trigger for cerebral palsy is not known. Here are some factors which could lead to problems with the brain development:
- Lack of oxygen: When there is a lack of oxygen to the brain (condition known as asphyxia) that is related to difficult labor or delivery, then it can lead to cerebral palsy but the birth – related asphyxia is much less commonly a cause than it is thought in the past.
- Traumatic head injury: This type of injury can be caused by fall or a motor vehicle accident.
- Infant infection: These infections can cause inflammation in or around the brain.
- Fetal stroke: This is a disruption of blood supply to the developing brain.
- Maternal infections: It is affecting the developing fetus.
- Mutations: Those mutations in genes that lead to abnormal brain development.
Risk factors: There are many factors which can increase the risk of cerebral palsy, such as
- Maternal health: There are some infections or health problems during the pregnancy which can increase the risk of cerebral palsy to baby and these infections include:
- Zika virus infection
- Exposure to toxins
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- German measles (rubella)
- Infant illnesses: There are some illnesses in newborns which can increase the risk of cerebral palsy, such as
- Severe or untreated jaundice
- Viral encephalitis
- Bacterial meningitis