Cerebral palsy (CP) affects an estimated two out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can vary widely in severity and symptoms. Some people with cerebral palsy have mild symptoms, while others have severe disabilities that affect their ability to walk and talk.
According to the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPRF), CP is usually diagnosed within the first few months of life. But occasionally, patients are misdiagnosed with other conditions such as muscular dystrophy or spina bifida until they’re older because their symptoms aren’t obvious at first glance.
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How Is Cerebral Palsy Developed?
The exact cause of cerebral palsy is unknown, but it often occurs when the brain doesn’t develop properly while a baby grows in the womb or shortly after birth. This can happen because of a problem during pregnancy or delivery, such as infant cephalohematoma, oxygen deprivation, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin). In some cases, it’s not clear what caused cerebral palsy.
Many different things can cause cerebral palsy, but it usually occurs when there is a lack of oxygen getting to the brain. It can also happen when there is a bleed in the brain or if the baby’s head is impacted against the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery.
There’s no cure for cerebral palsy, but many treatments are available for managing symptoms. A doctor may prescribe physical, speech, occupational, and other therapies to help improve muscle control and movement skills. Medications can help manage seizures in some cases.
Late Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
Although cerebral palsy usually occurs at birth, most children who develop it do not show signs until after age one. In some cases, however, cerebral palsy may be diagnosed in adulthood as well, and occurs most often between age 30 and 50.
The presence of CP in adults isn’t completely understood. However, researchers believe that it results from an injury or illness that affects the brain during childhood or adolescence, such as a stroke or meningitis. It can also occur in people who have had previous injuries or infections in their spine or joints.
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Types of Cerebral Palsy
While a certain picture may come to mind when you hear the phrase cerebral palsy, there are different kinds. There are three main types of cerebral palsy:
Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the motor cortex of the brain, which causes muscles to become rigid or tight. Athetoid cerebral palsy involves damage to areas of the cerebellum that control muscle tone and coordination, while ataxic cerebral palsy involves damage on both sides of the cerebellum.
Cerebral palsy is not curable, but it can be treated to help improve symptoms. Treatment options include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Treatment also may include using assistive devices such as braces and wheelchairs to help people with cerebral palsy maintain mobility throughout their lives.
The Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy symptoms vary from person to person. Some people with this condition have mild signs and others have severe disabilities. The symptoms vary widely and can include:
- Problems with muscle tone
- Problems with motor skills
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Speech problems
- Difficulty with swallowing or eating
- Intellectual disabilities
If you have cerebral palsy, you may feel that you are disabled, but you are also a person with rights. You can hire a birth injury attorney to help you exercise these rights and protect your interests. Someone with cerebral palsy can live an independent life with proper care and treatment from a team of health professionals.
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Consider Working With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The first reason why you should hire a medical malpractice lawyer is that they are experienced with cases like yours. They know what needs to be done to win your case against the insurance company or potentially liable parties that might be at fault for your injuries.
Also, when they start working on your case after you or your family members hire them, they’ll know how much money your situation warrants. This prevents you from being short-changed and paying for your medical care on your own.
They Know What To Do in Court
Another reason to hire a cerebral palsy is that they understand court proceedings. When it comes time for trial, most people don’t know what kind of evidence needs to be presented in order for them to win their case. You also may not know how to present that evidence effectively and lose your case due to small mistakes.
With a lawyer representing you, your case will get settled much faster than if you had tried representing yourself. If you find yourself in need of an experienced birth injury lawyer, rest assured that many offer free case reviews.