Cerebral palsy and the symptoms
Cerebral palsy is the medical term for a whole class of diseases that appearin children and that cause some problems to a child’s ability to coordinatebody motions. This group of diseases affects the muscles that become rigid andstiff in some cases, while on the other hand they can also become weak andfloppy. Cerebral palsy, unfortunately, is not curable, but it must be treated inorder to alleviate the symptoms.
The main symptoms of cerebral palsy are ataxia, spasticity, asymmetricalwalking gait, as well as tremors, excessive drooling and difficulties whileswallowing, speaking, or sucking. Some children also may experience variationsin muscle tones that range from too rigid to too floppy. Furthermore, in somecases, mental retardation or seizures may appear, but all of these symptoms usuallyremain the same and do not become worse over the time.
Causes of cerebral palsy
It is thought that the causes for cerebral palsy are either some problemthat occurred before the baby was born, or some brain injuries andinfections that happened soon after the birth. Sometimes, it is not easy for the doctor to establish the real cause for theoccurrence of cerebral palsy. There are many causes for this disorder such assome infections, congenital abnormalities, stroke, lack of oxygen, and seriousand severe jaundice. Cerebral palsy can also be provoked by some infectious conditions that occurred whilethe mother was pregnant, so rubella or German measles and varicella or chickenpox thatoccurred in pregnancy may be the factors that lead to cerebral palsy. This diseasecan be cured with a vaccine.
Furthermore, cytomegalovirus is a virus that usually affects most peopleuntil they are 40. If this virus appears when a woman is pregnant, it may causesome serious defects of the baby. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that can also be a factor of the occurrence ofcerebral palsy, and it can be found in the soil, or in the feces ofinfected cats. Cerebral palsy may be caused by syphilis, if the mother has it in pregnancy.
On the other hand, meningitis and viral encephalitis are disorders thatoccur after the child’s birth, and these diseases can lead to cerebral palsy. Meningitisrefers to the inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord,while viral encephalitis refers to the inflammation of the brain. In some cases, while the baby is still in the womb, the brain does notdevelop properly, which has for the consequence the appearance of cerebralpalsy. If the jaundice is not treated, it can become severe and can damage thebrain, thus causing cerebral palsy.