The ability to hold a spoon to the mouth in their world is valued much more than the ability to read. Cerebral palsy (CP) for many parents, whose children suffer from it, has become a real death sentence and completely changed their lives.
Today’s topic in our blog: cerebral palsy and everything that people suffering from it and their loved ones need to know.
Cerebral palsy (infantile cerebral palsy) is a whole complex of various disorders of the nervous and muscular systems that occur in children. In simple words, this is the collective name for disorders affecting different parts of the patient’s brain.
Today, the problem of disabled children in Ukraine is of particular importance due to their constant growth in the structure of the child population. The total number of disabled children annually increases by 0.5%. At the same time, infantile cerebral palsy is one of the most common causes of childhood disability, and in about 30-50% of people with cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities are observed.
Cerebral palsy is not a hereditary disorder.
Factors aggravating the course of pregnancy and serious somatic diseases of the mother lead to its development.
The reason for this diagnosis is also the destruction or trauma of the brain, and the most common causes of its occurrence in practice are fetal hypoxia, injuries sustained by the infant at the time of birth (birth injury) and alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
In practice, sometimes the symptoms of cerebral palsy can be detected immediately at birth, namely during the time when the doctor examines the child and assesses his condition, but most often the diagnosis is made only at the age of one to two years.
According to statistics, the frequency of this diagnosis is 2-7 cases per 1,000 people among children under the age of 1 year. The prevalence of cerebral palsy ranges from 1.5 to 3-5% (in Ukraine – 2.5%). More often, such a diagnosis is recorded in children born prematurely, since the prevalence among premature newborns increases 10 times. This is despite the fact that, according to the WHO, about 15 million premature babies are born every year.
According to official data, about 750,000 patients with infantile cerebral palsy live in Ukraine. At the same time, boys are more likely to have cerebral palsy than girls, 1.33 times. At the same time, in the world today there are about 17 million people with cerebral palsy.
It should be noted that the diagnosis of cerebral palsy begins with a full examination of the child by a pediatric neurologist.
In this case, in case of suspicion of a disorder of the neurological spectrum, instrumental diagnostics are used, such as:
The listed methods make it possible not only to differentiate the pathology, but also to exclude other congenital malformations of a neurological nature.
Also, if cerebral palsy is suspected, consultations of such narrow-profile specialists as: an orthopedist, ophthalmologist, otolaryngologist, psychiatrist are additionally shown.
If the causes of cerebral palsy have not been established, and the diagnosis must be differentiated from other hereditary diseases, in practice, genetic and biochemical diagnostic methods are often used.
In any case, for the successful treatment of cerebral palsy, the earliest diagnosis of pathology is necessary, which can be carried out at a very early age. The doctor should pay attention to the muscle tone, reflexes, movements of the baby. In addition to visual examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound neuro-imaging is used to diagnose cerebral palsy.
The timeliness of diagnosis and the earliest possible start of treatment depends on a careful examination and detailed examination. Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, which include cerebral palsy, are core to the «Ladisten Clinic» medical center, where your child is fully comprehensively examined and diagnosed with the presence or absence of the disease.
It is important for each parent to remember that the effectiveness of the child’s treatment directly depends on the timely access to the specialists of the specialized medical center, in this case, the «Ladisten Clinic». The high professional level of medical personnel, as well as, an individual approach to the treatment of each little patient, is the key to the successful rehabilitation of all our patients.
Despite the higher risk of complications, many women, even with severe cerebral palsy, can successfully endure pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.
In practice, congenital cerebral palsy is diagnosed immediately after childbirth.
The main causes of cerebral palsy are:
All of these factors can contribute to the formation of the disease in a newborn.
Symptoms of neurological disorders in children and newborns are as follows:
The most obvious signs of cerebral palsy in a newborn are:
In the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, ultrasound is informative only with a large lesion of the brain tissue. In practice, insignificant pathological areas are rather difficult to identify with this method.
Ultrasound examination of the brain will help to identify intracranial changes, which in the future can lead to the development of very dangerous diseases, for example, epilepsy or cerebral palsy. An increase in the ventricles of the brain detected by ultrasound does not always indicate the presence of abnormalities.
The main causes of cerebral palsy are damage to the brain cells of a child as a result of oxygen starvation caused by hypoxia or asphyxia, or injuries sustained in the prenatal or postnatal period.
Early signs of cerebral palsy include: delayed achievement of developmental milestones such as head control, rolling over, reaching for objects with the hand, sitting without support, crawling, or walking.
According to generally accepted medical canons, cerebral palsy is an incurable disease that cannot be cured. But it is possible and necessary to teach the child and his parents to live with this disease. But, it is important to note that in our time, cerebral palsy is sometimes amenable to treatment only when it is detected in childhood.
A competent neurologist will work out a complete treatment regimen, the observance of which will lead to an improvement in the quality of life of the child, who will be able to adapt socially, get an education and get a job in the future.
It is important to note that scientists from Norway in the late 90s found that the most severe forms of cerebral palsy occur in children born after birth stimulation.
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10 (1999)) considers seven types of cerebral palsy:
At the same time, the international classification of cerebral palsy, adopted in Cannes (2000), divides this pathology into: spastic (bilateral, unilateral); dyskinetic (choreoathetoid, dystonic), atactic and mixed forms.
In turn, many clinicians use the R. Michaelis classification, which includes the following forms of cerebral palsy: spastic hemiplegia and bilateral spastic cerebral palsy: mainly of the lower extremities, triplegia, dyskinetic-spastic; dyskinetic (mainly dystonia or athetosis); atactic (non-progressive congenital infection of the cerebellum and ataxia).
Currently, none of the proposed classifications can satisfy clinicians, since the factors causing brain damage are very diverse, clinical manifestations are extremely variable, especially at an early age, which does not allow developing absolute criteria for a unified classification.
In mild cerebral palsy, only the legs are usually affected, the child begins to walk later, and takes his first steps on tiptoe. In more severe cases, movements are impaired in the arms and upper legs, children begin to walk very late or never. With especially difficult lesions, the child cannot move at all.
Treatment of cerebral palsy with the restoration of the quality of life to a full-fledged level is possible if the doctor’s recommendations are followed. You should not count on achieving a quick result, these are long-term studies, courses of therapy, and sometimes operations.
It is important to note that cerebral palsy is not a death sentence. The fact that a person has this disease does not determine a certain length of his life. But, due to deformation of internal organs, bones and joints, underdevelopment of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, people with cerebral palsy live less than without pathology. They look older than their age due to accelerated aging, by the age of 40, their life potential is very much wasted.
The main factors that affect the life expectancy of people with cerebral palsy are:
– the severity of the disease;
– the presence of secondary complications and diagnoses;
– the quality of life;
– rehabilitation and physical development;
– mental development and training;
– support of loved ones and socialization.
It is impossible to indicate the timing of recovery. Each case is unique. The classification of cerebral palsy includes several forms of the disease, for each the prognosis is different. Much depends on the severity of the disease and how timely infantile cerebral palsy is detected. With early detection of symptoms, the prognosis is encouraging. The most difficult is for children with double hemiplegia, in which full recovery is impossible.
Today, when medical and rehabilitation technologies have made great strides forward, people with cerebral palsy can be provided with a decent life. The list of modern individual means of rehabilitation and habilitation is very wide – these are means for movement, self-service, training, sports simulators and prosthetic products. All this allows people with disabilities to take a worthy place in our world, self-actualize and feel useful to society.
But, for society as a whole, and for each of us, it is important to remember that people with cerebral palsy are not people with disabilities, but people with increased needs.
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