Before you start asking all sorts of questions and begin to arrive to all sorts of conclusions, let’s start you off with the right facts about cerebral palsy. First thing that you need to learn is that cerebral palsy is not a disease. It is a condition or more correctly a group of chronic conditions which affects the body movement and our muscle coordination. The condition is brought about by damage to an area of the brain and occurs during the development of the baby at the time of pregnancy.
This is where the word cerebral palsy came from: the word cerebral meaning brain and palsy which refers to the weakening or poor control of the muscles. It has been diagnosed that the condition is not progressive meaning it does not get worse over time. Nonetheless, the condition is not the only thing that needs to be considered. There are a number of secondary conditions that result from cerebral palsy which can get worse. So do you think that your kids or someone else’s kid you know has cerebral palsy? Let’s look at some of the basic facts.
When you look for the symptoms of the condition, you will see some very noticeable signs like difficulty with such basic motor functions like writing, balance and even walking, as well as presence of involuntary movements. However, do remember that the combination of symptoms varies from patient to patient. Babies can even exhibit symptoms of the condition. It has been observed that babies with cerebral palsy are slower in achieving development such as crawling, sitting, rolling over, walking and even smiling. Doctors can check through motor skill and reflexes tests as well as the family’s medical history.
An MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan and a CT or Computerized Tomography are most often ordered for patients suspected of having the condition. However, you need to understand that these tests despite being to advanced are not as conclusive as one might think. What these machines can do is to exclude some other possible brain disorders. However, these scans can show scars, cysts or any other changes in the brain.
There are different kinds of cerebral palsy, just for your information. The types are actually based on the kinds of problems balance and movement patients encounter or where in the body the problem is located. Examples of the former are athetoid and spastic cerebral palsy. While the latter includes the hemiplegia, diplegia and quadriplegia kinds.
When we say spastic we refer to the inability of the muscles to relax and athetosis on the other hand refers to one incapable of controlling movement. Meanwhile, hemiplegia refers to having cerebral palsy in one arm and one leg on one side of the body. The diplegia refers to having the condition on both legs and quadriplegia means having it on all the arms and legs and even in body and neck muscles.
As you might already know, cerebral palsy is not a curable condition. You cannot just ask a doctor for a pill to swallow and everything will go away. Once you have the condition you pretty much will have it the rest of your life. However, one can help prevent it from happening. A pregnant mother can take a couple of precautionary measure to ensure that her baby will not develop cerebral palsy. Among the recommended measures include reducing exposure to infectious virus and bacteria, less exposure to e-rays and various other medications, and even controlling wisely disease like anemia and diabetes helps.
Despite the lack of cure, there are procedures or treatments wherein patients diagnosed with cerebral palsy can help lessen the effects of the condition on their day to day lives. So if you think you’re child do have cerebral palsy, one should be prepared mentally and emotionally to handle the situation.