Cerebral Palsy : Nearly 170 million people throughout the globe are affected by Cerebral Palsy with 25000 additional people every year according to world Cerebral Palsy Day organization Australia. Cerebral palsy is a Non curable disease caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain at young age or low oxygen supply at any age.At present it is the most commonly occurring developmental disorder in the world. 3 to 4 children per 1000 births develop this condition by birth and many get affected in the early stages of growth.
Some important effects of cerebral palsy are Muscle tightness and spasticity, difficulty in moving or involuntary movements – This can include disturbances in gait, balance, coordination, walking, staying still, and more depending on an individual’s condition and the affected areas of the brain. Mental Retardation, Learning disabilities, Breathing Difficulties – because of postural problems, feeding trouble – the muscles used for feeding may be impaired in people with cerebral palsy. This can lead to malnutrition and troubles with development and growth. There is no cure except occupational & physical therapy with supplementary medicines for this disorder.
Types of Cerebral Palsy:Cerebral palsy is categorized using two factors: the type of movement issues and the body part(s) being affected.
There are four types of cerebral palsy namely spastic, athetoid, ataxic and mixed type.
The type of movement problems seen in Cerebral Palsy Children/individuals depends on how severely a brain injury has impacted muscle tone. Muscle tone is the strength and tension of the muscles.
Terms used to describe how cerebral palsy affects muscle tone are
• Hypotonia – Low muscle tone, causing a loss of strength and firmness
• Hypertonia – High muscle tone, causing rigidity and spasmodic movement
Different Types of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic Cerebral Palsy : Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of CP, making up 70 to 80 percent of cases. People with spastic cerebral palsy often experience exaggerated or jerky movements (hypertonia).
Common signs and symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy include:
• Awkward reflexes
• Stiffness in one part of the body
• Contractures (permanently tightened muscles or joints)
• Abnormal gait
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy : About 10 percent of children with cerebral palsy are identified with athetoid CP, or “non-spastic CP”. This type of CP is characterized by a mixture of hypotonia and hypertonia, which causes muscle tone to fluctuate. The main feature of athetoid cerebral palsy is involuntary movement in the face, upper body and limbs.
Common symptoms related with athetoid cerebral palsy are:
• Stiff or rigid body
• Floppiness in the limbs
• Problems with posture
• Issues feeding
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxia is a type of CP that causes problems with balance and coordination. Ataxic cerebral palsy makes up a small percentage of all cases.
Common symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy include:
• Difficulty speaking
• Problems with depth perception
• Shakiness and tremors
• Spreading feet apart when walking
Mixed Cerebral Palsy: When a child is showcasing symptoms of more than one type of CP, it is mixed cerebral palsy. This diagnosis makes up less than 10% of all CP cases. The most common mixed cerebral palsy diagnosis is a combination of spastic and athetoid CP
Location of Movement Problems
Monoplegia: Only one limb’s movement of the individual is affected. This type is very rare.
Diplegia: Two limbs, generally the legs, are affected. Premature birth commonly results in Diplegia.
Hemiplegia: One side of the body is affected. The arm is usually more impacted than other limbs, distinguished by a rigidly flexed wrist or elbow. Some people with hemiplegia may not be able to use the affected hand. Prenatal bleeding in the brain can cause hemiplegia.
Triplegia: Three limbs are affected.
Quadriplegia: All four limbs are involved, but the legs are affected worse than the arms. There may be limited control over facial muscles as well.
Double hemiplegia: Like quadriplegia, all four limbs are affected, but the arms are more affected than the legs.