Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that affect movement. It is the most commonly occurring type of childhood disability and affects about two out of every 1,000 live births, according to Frontiers in Pediatrics.
It is an illness that makes it difficult to move or control certain parts of the body in certain ways, and it varies from mild to severe cerebral palsy. In most cases, it affects voluntary movements, but involuntary movements or reflexes can also be affected.
CP is not contagious, and it may or may not affect intelligence or learning ability, depending on which parts of the brain sustain damage or injury. It is not progressive either, meaning it does not worsen with age, although some symptoms may have more pronounced effects on a person as he or she gets older.
Caring for someone with cerebral palsy can be very expensive, so speak with a Fort Worth cerebral palsy lawyer at (800) 222-9529 if your child was diagnosed with this condition.
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Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy
The cerebrum and the cerebral cortex are responsible for controlling the muscles. These brain centers lie in the outer layers of the brain. Damage to this part of the brain can cause cerebral palsy. Furthermore, because the cerebrum plays an important role in memory, the ability to learn, and communication, people with cerebral palsy sometimes have issues with communicating and learning. They may also suffer from vision and hearing issues.
Common causes of brain damage leading to cerebral palsy include:
- Oxygen deprivation in the womb: This can happen as a result of maternal infections, low maternal blood pressure, a preterm delivery, the use of harmful drugs, or the ingestion of toxins by other means, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
- Abnormal brain development: Any disruptions in the formation of the brain can affect the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body, which affects everything from walking and talking to breathing and holding the head upright.
- Brain bleeding: Also known as an intracranial hemorrhage, this occurs as a result of a stroke in an unborn baby and can lead to cerebral palsy.
Fetal strokes are surprisingly common. Here is how they can happen.
- Blood clotting in the placenta can lead to stroke.
- Blood clotting disorders in the fetus may lead to a brain clot or a stroke.
- Untreated preeclampsia in the mother.
- Placental inflammation.
- Pelvic inflammation of the mother.
Several risk factors increase the risk of the mother and/or her baby suffering from these complications and the baby developing cerebral palsy. These risk factors include:
- An emergency C-section
- Prolonged stage-two of labor
- The incorrect use of extraction devices during delivery
- Issues with the umbilical cord
- Preterm birth or low birth weight
- Multiple births in a single pregnancy
- Random abnormalities in the development of the fetal brain
- Small/petite mother
- Breech deliveries (feet-first or bottom-first)
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Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
How can you identify cerebral palsy? Parents, as primary caregivers, may be the first to recognize health issues that may indicate cerebral palsy. Telltale signs to look for include:
- Poor muscle tone and an inability to voluntarily tighten or relax the muscles
- Stiff or floppy movements
- Overdeveloped or underdeveloped muscles
- Ataxia, which is poor coordination and balance
- Involuntary movements
- Unusual crawling, such as dragging part of the body
- Preferring the use of one side of the body over the other
- Missing growth or developmental milestones
- Issues with vision or hearing
- Urinary or bowel incontinence in older patients
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty eating, swallowing, or sucking
Most of these symptoms manifest during the first few years of a child’s life. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, speak to their doctor. Then, call our Fort Worth cerebral palsy lawyer team at (800) 222-9529 to discuss your rights.
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Treatment and Prevention of Cerebral Palsy
Once brain damage occurs, it cannot be repaired, so there is no known cure for cerebral palsy. However, various treatments and therapies can help the affected individual better manage his or her symptoms and live with greater independence.
The first step to do so is to formally diagnose the type of cerebral palsy your child has. Properly diagnosing and treating cerebral palsy requires regular checkups to determine how your child’s developmental needs are changing and what issues he or she is facing with the passage of time.
Some types affect the body one way, while other types will have different effects. A team of health professionals, including a doctor, pediatrician, speech therapist, neurologist, nutritionist, and an educational psychologist can collectively assess your child and come up with a treatment program tailored to your child’s needs. As your child grows, his or her plan will be reviewed and revised based on his or her overall health.
Specific treatments are administered based on the patient’s needs and desired outcomes. They include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, strength-building exercises, the use of medication to treat the likes of seizures and epilepsy, and surgery to repair damaged bones, muscles, or nerves.
When it comes to prevention, the best preventive measures include making sure that the mother stays up to date with all vaccinations to prevent infections and viral or bacterial illnesses and that she maintains a healthy diet and goes for regular checkups.
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Legal Help is a Call Away
The costs associated with testing and treatment for cerebral palsy can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy that was caused by birth injuries, the medical team that delivered your child may have caused those injuries. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to speak to a Fort Worth cerebral palsy lawyer who may be able to investigate your case.
We are a call away and offer free case evaluations. Call now at (800) 222-9529.
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