A disorder that affects the brain and the nervous system- Cerebral Palsy

 

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a set of neurological conditions that cause physical disability in human development which affect the brain and nervous system. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.

 

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of cerebral palsy appear with three years of a person life. Some of the common signs and symptoms are lateness in developmental milestones, such as crawling, walking, or speaking, later than his/her peers, unusual crawling, abnormal muscle tone, difficulty in sucking and feeding, floppy or stiff movements, bad coordination and balance, hearing disorder, loss or unclear vision sense, difficulty in swallowing, seizures and bowel movement problems as well as bladder problems.
Types
Spastic cerebral palsy — causes stiffness and movement difficulties in the hand, arm and leg. It is also responsible for speech problems and seizures at times. It may also lead to mental retardation.
Athetoid cerebral palsy: leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements in the lower limbs making walking difficult
Ataxic cerebral palsy: causes a problem with balance and depth perception. In this situation, the child will find it difficult to tie his/her shoelaces, button up shirts, cut with scissors, and other fine motor skills and may also with the feet far apart leading to intention tremors.
Hypotonic cerebral palsy: this is responsible for floppy head and the inability to regulate the when sitting up. It leads to breathing difficulties in some babies.
Causes
It is majorly caused by any injury or damage to the cerebrum. The cerebrum is responsible for human memory, ability to learn, and communication skills and account for why some people with cerebral palsy have problems with communication and learning as well as vision and hearing disorders.
Inadequate oxygen during the first and second trimesters labour and delivery is another cause.
Abnormal development of the brain and bleeding in the brain of the fetus can also lead to cerebral palsy.

 

Predisposing factors that contribute to a higher risk of cerebral palsy:
Multiple births
Damaged placenta
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Intake of alcohol while pregnant
Use of illicit or illegal drugs during pregnancy
Exposure to other toxic substances by the pregnant mother
Inadequate food intake during pregnancy
Random malformation of the baby’s brain
Small pelvic structure of the mother
Breech delivery
Post delivery fetal brain damage

 

Diagnosis
The baby’s history and development characteristics will aid in proper diagnoses of the condition. The medical history of the mother during her pregnancy will be highly required to determine the diagnosis as well. The posture, movement, motor skills and reflexes of the child will be properly examined by the doctor or by a specialist-Pediatrician and an educational psychologist to assess the child’s intellectual capacity and development.

Against the above background, blood test, cranial ultrasound, Magnetic resonance image scan, Computed tomography will be done. The diagnosis also requires regular assessments of the child to make comparisons and determine what the developmental needs and issues are.

 

Treatment
A successful and impacting treatment requires the input of general practitioner, a pediatrician, a health visitor, a social worker, a physiotherapist, a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist, an incontinence advisor, as well as an educational psychologist.

The treatment depends mainly on the needs of the person and the goal is to assist the child achieve as much independence as possible throughout his/her life.

Preventive Measures
Pregnant woman should register for antenatal services and receive all vaccines during the course of the pregnancy and any other vaccines s may be required after delivery.
Avoid consumption of alcohol and smoking throughout while pregnant.
Engage in light regular exercise during pregnancy.
Enjoy and eat a healthy meal while pregnant.
Test for Rh incompatibility which will be important for second and subsequent pregnancies.

 



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