What is Cerebral Palsy?

What is Cerebral Palsy?

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

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