What Is the Cause of Cerebral Palsy?

Want to know about the leading cause of cerebral palsy and the facts of it? Find out about cerebral palsy necessary information here.

Cerebral palsy or CP is a disorder that affects the balance of body movement and muscle tone. A cerebral means brain disorder and palsy refers to weakness or muscle issues. CP mainly starts from the brain area that stops development or damages the time of birth or very early in life. Most people are born with this, and that is “congenital” CP. When it happens after birth, it is “acquired” CP.

People with CP can have problems controlling muscle or cannot even walk. Some may have difficulty in speaking, while others may have intellectual disabilities. He or she may need lifetime support and care for doing their work.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is created from abnormal development of part of the brain or traumatic injury to the brain, including the brain responsible for motor control, coordination, and balance. Different types of cerebral palsy are occurred by damage to different parts of the brain. The level of disability depends on the level of injury and timing of the brain.

  • Prenatal injuries cause 70% of cerebral palsy cases.
  • Injuries cause 20% during birth.
  • Injuries cause 10% after birth.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain injury or problem during pregnancy or birth or within the first 2 to 3 years of a child’s life. It can cause:

  • Premature birth or born too early
  • Do not get enough supply of oxygen, blood, or other nutrients before birth.
  • A severe head injury or accident.
  • Seizures at the time of birth or in the first month of life
  • Severe infections can affect the brain, such as meningitis.
  • Problems passed from parent to children genetically that affects brain development.
  • Damage to the white matter of the brain
  • Abnormal development of the brain

Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

The symptoms of cerebral palsy rarely come after the baby is born. It can happen any time, especially in the first two of a child’s life. Some people face minor issues, but others may face disability.

C P Symptoms can include:

  • Delays in reaching development milestones like pushing up on arms, sitting up, or crawling.
  • Difficulty with sucking or eating
  • Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
  • Seeming too stiff or too floppy
  • Weak arms or legs
  • Fidgety, jerky, or clumsy movements
  • Random, uncontrolled movements
  • Walking on tiptoes
  • Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
  • Tremors or involuntary movements

Cerebral Palsy For Babies:

  • Head lags when you up the kid while he’s lying on his back.
  • When you pick up the kid, his legs get stiff and get cross or scissor.
  • Do not roll over either direction
  • Cannot bring hands together
  • Difficulty in getting hands to mouth
  • Crawls crookedly, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • Cannot stand needs support on holding on to an object.

Other neurological problems are associated with cerebral palsy including,

  • Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
  • Difficulty seeing and hearing
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mental health conditions
  • Oral diseases
  • Seizures
  • Urinary incontinence

Risk Factors That May Lead to Cerebral Palsy

These risk factors given below enhances the risk of an infant developing cerebral palsy:

  • A low APGAR score (showing poor cardiac or respiratory function at or right after birth)
  • Breech-position birth (or other unusual positions)
  • Extreme prematurity
  • Infant seizures (shortly after birth)
  • Infertility treatments
  • Low birth weight infant (under 5 pounds)
  • Maternal illicit drug use
  • Maternal proteinuria (excessive protein in the mother’s urine showing pre-eclampsia and maternal high blood pressure)
  • Microcephaly (small head when born)
  • Maternal blood clotting disorders
  • Maternal seizures (eclampsia)
  • Maternal hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism

All babies are not exposed to these risk factors to develop their cerebral palsy. But it is best to be aware of these risk factors because they are the one which helps in the development of the disorder.

Is It the Doctor’s Responsible for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?

Yes, it is possible that negligence of medicine can cause brain damage in pregnancy or childbirth, leading to cerebral palsy. Sometimes, neglect mistakes can not be sorted, so these mistakes are considered malpractice include:

  • Anything that deprives a baby of oxygen at birth.
  • Overly forceful use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
  • Failure to order a Cesarean section or perform one in time to prevent brain damage
  • Failure to observe fetal development during pregnancy or distress during labor
  • Poor treatment of maternal health conditions during pregnancy

What is the Best Treatment for Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy Medications

Many medications help control the spastic movements, relieve pain, seizures, and handle other symptoms like:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Anticholinergics
  • Antacids
  • Baclofen or other muscle relaxants
  • Diazepam
  • Stool softeners/laxatives
  • Sleep aids

Cerebral Palsy Surgery

Surgery is a condemning part of the treatment for children with CP. All the surgical procedures can improve to handle pain. Some common courses of action include muscle release, repair of hip dislocations, and scoliosis surgery.

Cerebral Palsy Therapies

Many types of therapies are used for children with cerebral palsy. These therapies can improve their physical, social, mental, and learning deficiencies. If the therapies are done early, children with cerebral palsy will have less risk of creating other conditions and decrease impairment.

Some well-used therapies for children with cerebral palsy are:

  • Aqua
  • Behavioral
  • Bowel program
  • Feeding
  • Horse and animal
  • Music
  • Occupational
  • Physical
  • Play
  • Language/Speech

Will Cerebral Palsy Cause Other Health Problems?

Usually, cerebral palsy does not cause other conditions, but it can create some health issues. Kids with CP have at least one co-existing need, such as:

  • ADHD
  • Behavioral, emotional issues
  • Cognitive disability
  • Constipation
  • Feeding problems and nutritional deficiencies
  • Gastric reflux
  • Hearing deficits
  • Joint problems
  • Seizures
  • Scoliosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Vision impairment

Can CP be Prevented or Avoided?

Very few cases of CP are prevented and mostly are undeniable. These are the results that can happen during pregnancy or birth.

An adequate solution to prevent CP can be, taking steps to lower the risk factors. You can do these activities given below:

  • Maintain your physical health when you are pregnant. That can include exercising, eating a good diet, and getting enough rest.
  • Take folic acid to prevent premature birth, which is connected with CP.
  • Attend every appointment given by the prenatal doctor. And let the doctor know does not feel right.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using any drugs.
  • After the baby is born, watch out for jaundice. Neglected jaundice can lead to CP.
  • Keep your baby on vaccinations to prevent any illnesses which can cause CP.
  • Avoid any potential accidents or injuries. Make sure you keep your baby in the car tightly while traveling. Do not make your baby shake too much because it can cause brain injury, leading to CP.

However, take the steps to help your baby that is facing cerebral palsy. There are communities that can help disabled children to keep them healthy and safe.

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