Posted by: wockhardthospitals | August 18, 2009

Cerebral Palsy : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment.

Cerebral Palsy is a term used for a group of disorders that affects an individual’s body movement, balance and posture. Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy appear in infancy or early childhood and remain constant over the remainder of ones life.

image source:livingwithcerebralpalsy, click image to know more about our services

image source:livingwithcerebralpalsy, click image to know more about our services


Symptoms


Early signs of Cerebral Palsy are generally noticed in a child between the ages of 3 months to 3 years. The Symptoms become more pronounced as the child’s nervous system develops. Some of the common symptoms are:


  • Children with Cerebral Palsy are generally late in achieving the milestones that infants achieve such as rolling on the stomach, reaching out and grabbing, sitting up, crawling and walking.

  • In Early childhood, there may be abnormal movement which is uncoordinated and uncontrolled or even jerky and abrupt. Stiffness and abnormal posturing of limbs may be seen. Speech problems are also noticed in people who loose the ability to control the muscles involved in speech i.e. tongue and various muscles in the mouth

  • As Cerebral Palsy affects the coordination of muscle movement there may be various other symptoms which involve movement and other bodily functions such as swallowing, eating, drinking water, writing, walking etc

  • Seizures are quite common in people with Cerebral Palsy

  • Weakness of the muscles that control eye muscles may lead to vision problems

Although most of the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy are connected with muscle movement and coordination it is not a disease of the muscles but a condition of the brain.


Causes


Cerebral Palsy occurs when there is damage caused to the part of the brain that controls muscle movement and coordination either during it‘s formation in the fetus or during birth or even in rare cases after birth during the first few years of a child’s life. In most cases the exact cause of the brain damage is not known.


Diagnosis


The diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy is generally based on the patient’s symptoms and their history of illness. A physical examination of a patent is generally done to check muscle coordination and movement. A physician may opt for further diagnostic tests if necessary.


Treatment


There is no known cure for Cerebral Palsy. The treatment is generally limited to therapy and training to help a person with Cerebral Palsy live a better life.


Physical therapy, speech Therapy and other therapies becomes a part of the lives of most patients affected with Cerebral Palsy. Drugs to control seizures and to relax muscle spasms are also prescribed. Braces that add stability to patients while walking is used for those with severe disabilities.


Patients with Cerebral Palsy need to be treated with utmost care and concern as most people tend to dismiss them as being insane or mad. One must remember that other than abnormality in muscle control most of the brain functions normally.


What does the doctor say?


Cerebral palsy should be diagnosed early. A mother who notices anything abnormal about her child should bring it to the attention of a doctor.


Children with cerebral palsy would have disabilities related to movement. However, their intelligence may be normal. After detailed assessment, they should be encouraged to continue either normal schooling or a program through the National Open School.


Individuals with cerebral palsy should not be discriminated against when they apply for jobs. If they have the qualification and meet the required criteria, they should be seriously considered for employment.


By,Dr. Chandran Gnanamuthu MD, DM, FIAN, FAAN

Senior Consultant Neurologist, Wockhardt Hospitals

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