Cerebral Palsy is a collection of motor disorders resulting from damage to the brain that can occur before, during and after birth. Congenital cerebral palsy indicates that a person developed cerebral palsy at birth which is the case of the majority of people with cerebral palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is the most common motor disability in childhood. It is estimated that an average of 1 in 345 children in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. For many years, it was thought cerebral palsy was due to lack of oxygen. Studies show this only accounts for 19% of all cases.
Prevalence and Characteristics
Around 764,000 people in the United states have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy
Around 10,000 babies are born each year with cerebral palsy
Boys are diagnosed more often than girls
Cerebral palsy is the mot commonly diagnosed childhood motor disability in the United States
Over 77% of children with cerebral palsy have the spastic form
More than 50% of all children with cerebral palsy can walk independently
African American children with cerebral palsy are 1.7 times more likely to need assistance with walking or be unable to walk at all
Around 41% of babies and children with cerebral palsy will have limited abilities in crawling, walking and running.
Around 41% children with cerebral palsy in the United states have some form of a cognitive disorder
Behavior problems are common in children with cerebral palsy including social skills and anger issues.
Seizures are a common associate disorder of cerebral palsy and can range from mild to extreme severe.
There is no known cure
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Studies show that about 10 to 20 percent of children with cerebral palsy acquire the disorder after birth. This includes through infections, jaundice, RH incompatibility and severe oxygen shortage in the brain.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic- indicates the muscle tone is too low or too loose
affects 5 to 10 percent of people with cerebral palsy
movements are unsteady and shaking
have difficulty making quick movements
Spastic- refers to the inability of muscle to relax
is the most common type of cerebral palsy
70-80% of people have spastic cerebral palsy
will have difficulty moving from one position to another
Athetoid-uncontrolled twisting movements
Affects 10 to 20% of people with cerebral palsy
often have difficulty holding themselves in an upright position
muscles move involuntarily causing limbs to twitch
A generalized seizure, formally known as a gran mal seizure affects both sides of the brain, and starts in all parts of the brain at the same time. About 25 percent of people with epilepsy have generalized seizures. It affects all ages, socioeconomic and racial groups.
There are 4 phases of a generalized seizure:
Prodromal. This is the first phase where an early sign may include a group of symptoms hours or days before the seizure including depression, difficulty concentrating, headaches, insomnia and mood changes.
Aura. Typically, an aura occurs from a few seconds to a few minutes before the arrival of the seizure. Signs may include blurry vision, buzzing, ringing or an abdominal sensation.
Tonic-Clonic. This is the phase where the whole body is affected. The body begins to stiffen and the person loses consciousness and falls. This is followed by a violent uncontrollable shaking. During this phase, the person may have difficulty breathing, an inability to swallow, may drool and begin to sweat.
Postictal. Occurs at the end of the seizure, common signs include confusion, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, fear, memory loss, upset stomach and sleepiness.
There are 6 types of generalized seizures:
Absence (Petit Mal). It occurs throughout the entire brain beginning and ending very quickly. The person becomes unconscious with a blank stare. It may appear the person is day dreaming.
Tonic-Clonic. When the body stiffens and shakes. usually last 1 to 3 minutes.
Clonic. When a person has a muscle spasm in the face, neck and arms may last several minutes.
Tonic. The muscles in the arms, legs and trunk are affected. Usually last less than 20 seconds.
Atonic. the muscles go limp and can cause a person to fall or head his or her head if they are standing.
Myoclonic. Muscles suddenly jerk. The electrical impulses are strong enough to throw a person to the ground.
What Causes Epilepsy with Generalized Seizures?
Possible causes of epilepsy and seizures include:
a change in the structure of your brain
an infections of the brain, such as meningitis or encephalitis
a brain tumor
a stroke, or a loss of blood flow to the brain resulting in brain cell death
congenital conditions, including Down syndrome or tuberous sclerosis
First Aid For Tonic Clonic Seizures:
Call 911 if:
The person has never had a seizure before.
the person has difficulty breathing or waking after the seizure.
The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
The person has a seizure back-to back.
The person is injured during the seizure.
The person has an additional condition like diabetes, or heart disease.
Ease the person to the floor.
Turn the person gently onto the side (this will help the person breathe).
Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp
Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
Loosen ties or anything around the neck including button on a shirt.
Time the seizure.
Familiarize Yourself With The Warning Signs
Each person is different. Typically warning signs of a seizure may include:
Loss of consciousness
Stiffening of the body
Jerking of limbs
A loss of awareness
Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements.
Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his or her tongue.
Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth breaths (CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.
Do not offer the person water or food until he or she is fully alert.
After the seizure:
After the seizure ends, the person will probably be groggy and tired. He or she also may have a headache and be confused or embarrassed. Try to help the person find a place to rest. If necessary, offer to call a taxi, a friend, or a relative to help the person get home safely.
Don’t try to stop the person from wandering unless he or she is in danger.
Don’t shake the person or shout.
Stay with the person until he or she is completely alert.