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What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a complex chronic neurological disorder resulting from permanent brain damage which includes movement and posture disorders. The most common problems accompanying cerebral palsy are poor coordination, muscle stiffness (ie. spasticity) and swallowing and speaking dysfunction.
Depending on the area of damage, we can identify the following types of CP:
- paralysis pyramid
- extrapyramidal paralysis
- cerebellar paralysis
- mixed form paralysis
How common is cerebral palsy?
Statistically cerebral palsy affects about 2 per 1000 live births. In the world there are about 17 million people afflicted with the disease.
What are the causes of cerebral palsy?
CP is a result of damage or disorder in early stage brain development. It can result from many factors: fetal pathology, perinatal or postnatal damage, which means that a brain injury can occur not only in the womb or during birth but also in the first few months of life. The most common listed causes of cerebral palsy are: hypoxia, poor positioning of the fetus and prematurity.
What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?
The cerebral palsy symptoms may be visible even at birth. In case of minor brain damage they appear in later stages of life.
The most characteristic symptoms are movement disorders CP: spasticity, that is increased muscle tension, muscle hypotonia - floppy muscles, paresis, involuntary movements and psychomotor disturbances. They may also be accompanied by mental (intellectual) developmental disorders, behavioral problems, sight, hearing and speech impairment, as well as epilepsy.
Is cerebral palsy a progressive disease?
No. In case of CP patients the level of brain injury remains the same during their lifetime.
Is cerebral palsy curable?
Unfortunately not. Brain damage is irreversible and leads to permanent disability. People affected by CP require constant care and rehabilitation.
How important for the CP child development is rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy plays the most important role. It allows to limit the negative effects of the disease and enables to develop appropriate skills and compensatory behaviors.