Cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, so even simple movements – or standing still – are difficult. Other vital functions that also involve motor skills, such as breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and learning, also may be affected when a child has CP. Cerebral palsy does not get worse over time.
The causes of most cases of CP are unknown, but many are the result of problems during pregnancy. This can be due to infections, maternal health problems, a genetic disorder, or something that interfered with normal brain development. Problems during labour and delivery can cause CP, but this is the exception.
Premature babies – particularly those who weigh less than 3.3 pounds (1,510 grams) – have a higher risk of CP than babies that are carried full-term, as are other low-birth-weight babies and multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.). Brain damage in infancy or early childhood can also lead to CP. A baby or toddler might suffer damage because of lead poisoning, bacterial meningitis, malnutrition, being shaken as an infant, or being in a car accident while not properly restrained.
Associated medical problems
Seizures, speech and communication problems, and mental retardation are more common among kids with the most severe forms of CP. Many have problems that may require ongoing therapy and devices such as braces or wheelchairs.
As soon as CP is diagnosed, patients should begin therapy for movement, learning, speech, hearing, and social and emotional development. Paediatric cerebral palsy treatment also may include medication, surgery or braces to help improve muscle function. Different kinds of therapy can help them achieve maximum potential in growth and development.
Orthopaedic surgery can help address deformities of hips, knees, feet and scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which are common problems associated with CP. Severe muscle spasticity can sometimes be helped with medication taken by mouth or administered via a pump implanted under the skin.
A variety of medical specialists might be needed to treat the different medical conditions. If several medical specialists are needed, it’s important to have a primary care doctor or a CP specialist help you coordinate the care.
Nemours – Children’s Health
|Date of upload: 20th Jan 2017|
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