Cerebral Palsy – Why You Need to Know!
Cerebral Palsy, also known as CP, is a congenital disorder affecting motor skills, muscles, and the movement of those muscles. CP is generally caused by brain damage that occurs either during pregnancyor during labor. Small infants and children can be affected by cerebral palsy as well due to lead poisoning, malnutrition, shaken baby syndrome, or even an accident in which a head injury occurs. This condition can also lead to other health issues including visual impairment, hearing disorders, and speech and learning problems.
There are several types of cerebral palsy currently affecting over 500,000 men, women, and children in the United States. The 3 main types of cerebral palsy are spastic (most commonly diagnosed), athetoid, and ataxic. CP is classified by how severe it is as well as what parts of the body are affected and how they are affected.
There are 3 categories of spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic diplegia causes the person’s legs to cross and become rigid and jerky. This makes it hard for them to move or walk. Spastic hemiplegic only affects one side of the body causing stiffness in the hands and arms first and then the legs. Spastic quadriplegia, the most severe of all the spastic palsy’s affects the entire body making it hard for the person to move, talk, or walk and they may have some degree of mental retardation. People with this condition are generally bedridden or in wheelchairs and may also experience frequent seizures.
The second most common type of cerebral palsy is athetoid dyskinetic.With this type of palsy, a person will generally have normal or even high intelligence but most of the muscles in their body are affected making it hard for them to sit, speak, or even walk due to weakness and tightening of the muscles.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is more rarely diagnosed than the other forms. A person with ataxic cerebral palsy will generally have trouble with fine motor skills such as tying shoes, buttoning buttons, stringing beads, cutting with scissors, or writing. Those affected by this type of cerebral palsy will often have problems with balance and coordination and will sometimes walk with their feet spaced out further than someone not affected.
It is not uncommon for those who suffer from multiple symptoms to be diagnosed with what doctor’s call mixed cerebral palsy, meaning they have symptoms of several types.