Causes Of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a disease that usually manifests during the early years of a child’s life, and is the umbrella for a range of disorders that can affect the control of movement in some way. The symptoms of this disease usually present themselves before the age of three, and the causes of cerebral palsy can vary. There are a number of symptoms that can present themselves during the early years of a child’s life, and could indicate the presence of cerebral palsy. In some cases, it can be difficult to diagnose cerebral palsy because some of the symptoms may be so subtle that they are barely noticeable.
There are a number of causes involved in cerebral palsy, and in some cases the causes cannot even be identified. The causes of cerebral palsy come under two main categories:
Acquired cerebral palsy: This accounts for up to twenty percent of young cerebral palsy sufferers, and is where the disorder is acquired after birth. Causes include but are not limited to brain damage or brain infections very early in life, bacterial meningitis, or head injury.
Congenital cerebral palsy: Congenital cerebral palsy is the more common type of this disorder. It can take months for this form of the disorder to be detected, and damage to motor areas in the brain through a variety of sources can result in this conditions. This can happen in a number of ways, including infections or damage caused during pregnancy, labour, or during the delivery of the child. Also, if the infant is jaundiced when born, and the condition is left untreated, the brain can incur damage resulting in cerebral palsy.
The damage to the brain that can result in cerebral palsy can occur as the brain starts to form early in the pregnancy. It could also occur during the birth, or could even occur in the early years of life. The causes of cerebral palsy are not always clear cut, and at times the cause cannot be identified at all. Based on current statistics, it is through that the majority of cases of cerebral palsy stem from prenatal damage, which is damage sustained prior to birth. Smaller percentages of this disease have been attributed to perinatal damage (during birth) and postnatal damage (after birth).
There are a number of risk factors that have been identified, and one or a combination of the following factors could increase the chances of cerebral palsy in a baby.
- Certain disorders and illnesses in the mother, such as infections and seizures
- Certain birth defects, particularly defects closely associated with the brain such as spinal problems or head injury
- Blood difference between mother and fetus, known as RH factor incompatibility
- Complication that may be suffered during the labor or during the birth of the baby, or complication during the pregnancy
- Premature birth or very low birth weight
- Jaundice in the baby following birth, which is then left untreated
- The birth of twins (or any multiple birth)
- Oxygen starvation at any point during the pregnancy or birth
Cerebral Palsy can also arise from damage sustained by the child early in life, and this refers specifically to damage that can affect the brain. This includes damage that results from meningitis, infections, head injuries, internal bleeding, and oxygen starvation.
Another factor that may be responsible for cerebral palsy in some cases is medical negligence, and this covers any damage that is sustained through improper care by medics during pregnancy, labor, and birth, and also immediately following the birth. Proper medical care will often enable potential problems (such as RH factor incompatibility) to be identified and dealt with early on.
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