Cerebral palsy is a disease that causes disturbances in the movement and coordination of the body. The disease is caused by impaired brain development, which usually occurs when the child is still in the womb. This brain development disorder can also occur during childbirth or the first two to three years after birth.
Cerebral Palsy Definition
Literally, cerebral can be interpreted as something related to the brain, while palsy is defined as difficulty using muscles.
The disease has some typical symptoms that need to be considered and it is better to check with a doctor immediately.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
In children or infants affected by cerebral palsy, the following symptoms may arise:
- Tendency to use one side of the body. For example, dragging one of the limbs while crawling, or reaching for something with just one hand.
- Late development of motor mobility, such as crawling or sitting.
- Difficulty making the right moves, for example, when picking up an object.
- Abnormal walking styles, such as tiptoeing, crossing like scissors, or with limbs wide open.
- Muscles are stiff or even very lean.
- Uncontrolled wriggling motion (athetosis).
- Less responsive to touch or pain.
- Still wetting even though he is older, because he cannot withstand urination (urinary incontinence).
- Impaired intelligence.
- Impaired vision and hearing.
- Speech disorder (dysarthria).
- Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).
- Constantly salivating or drooling.
These complaints can be permanent and cause disability.
Cerebral Palsy Causes
It has been explained above that cerebral palsy is one of the most common causes of disability that occurs in children. Usually, the presence of this abnormality in the child can be detected when the child starts to age 3 years. The cause of cerebral palsy is brain injury or problems that occur during pregnancy, birth or within 2–3 years of a child’s life.
Here are other causes of cerebral palsy:
- Preterm birth problems
- Insufficient blood, oxygen, or other nutrients before or during birth
- Serious head injuries
- Serious infections that can affect the brain, such as meningitis
- Some problems pass from parent to child (a genetic condition) that affects brain development.
Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors
Several factors can make the baby more at risk of cerebral palsy, namely:
- Babies born prematurely
- Low weight babies
- Low APGAR score assessment, it is a method used to assess the physical condition of the baby at birth
- Babies are born breech, or part of the leg or buttocks come out first rather than the head
- Rhesus (Rh) incompatibility, occurs when the Rh-type blood of the mother does not match the Rh type of her baby’s blood
- Exposure to toxic substances such as methylmercury during pregnancy.
Cerebral Palsy Types
Basically, symptoms of cerebral palsy include abnormal movement of the arms and legs, difficulty feeding babies, and poor muscle shape early in life.
But in addition, slow walking and speaking development, abnormal posture, muscle spasms, stiff body, poor coordination, and angry-looking eyes can also be other traits.
There are 4 types of cerebral palsy that you need to understand to distinguish each symptom and its signs.
Spastic cerebral palsy
About 75 percent of cerebral palsy is a spastic type. In children with spastic cerebral palsy, he usually has narrowed muscles with stiff movements, especially on the legs, arms, and back.
The uncontrollable motor movement also causes difficulties in the following ways:
- Controlling muscles
- It’s hard to move from one position to another
- Stiff muscles and seizures
- Gestures made abnormally
- Inhibits movement.
Spastic also has other derivatives that are divided according to the child’s condition. Like spastic quadriplegia that impacts the upper and lower body of the child, which severely restricts movement and mobility.
There is also spastic diplegia that affects the lower part of the body. Usually, children who suffer from this can still walk but need walking aids.
Lastly, there is spastic hemiplegia that only hits one side of the body and usually attacks the arms rather than the legs. Children who experience this can mostly walk.
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
This type is the second most common cerebral palsy. Symptoms include:
- Dystonia, the child performs repetitive and twisting movements.
- Athetosis, squirming motion.
- Chorea, the movement of the child is unpredictable and difficult to control.
- It’s hard to swallow and talk.
- Poor posture.
Ataxic cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the entire body so that the child has balance and coordination problems.
The child appears to have slow and uncontrollable movements, as well as poor muscle shape which makes it difficult for them to sit upright and walk.
Mixed cerebral palsy
Symptoms of mixed cerebral palsy are a combination of two or three types of cerebral palsy described above. However, the most common mixtures are spastic and dyskinetic mixtures.
Given cerebral palsy is a condition that involves the brain and muscle performance, sometimes a child with CP can have learning, hearing, or seeing difficulties, or mental retardation.