Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term used for a plethora of conditions triggered by severe damage to the brain suffered antenatally or right after birth. The condition is likely to affect your child’s movement, balance, coordination, muscle tone and posture. As per the best neurologist in Mumbai, 3 out of 1000 children are born with cerebral palsy, in India. Although the rate is quite low but owing to the severity of the condition, it becomes important to educate ourselves about the disease. In this blog, we are going to discuss some vital information about cerebral palsy to raise awareness about the same.
Types of cerebral palsy
Depending upon the area of the brain affected, the patients experience varied symptoms. On the basis of these symptoms, the best paediatric neurologist in Mumbai classify cerebral palsy into the following types:
- Spastic cerebral palsy- Accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the cases of cerebral palsy, it is marked by unhealthy muscle stiffness which limits the movement thereby triggering walking abnormalities.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy- It is marked by the loss of control over the movement which means that the patient is likely to experience involuntary or abnormal movement in the limbs.
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy- It drastically impacts the muscle tone. Weak muscles trigger problems with breathing, speaking, walking and reflexes.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy- It is quite rare as compared to the other types of cerebral palsy and is marked by loss of balance and coordination which makes it difficult to walk, grab objects, write and maintain a proper posture.
- Mixed cerebral palsy- The patient experiences a combination of different symptoms, most likely a mix of spastic and Dyskinetic cerebral palsy.
Classification of cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is classified into 5 levels on the basis of GMFCS (Gross Motor Function Classification System) which has been recognized as the universal standard by the WHO (World Health Organization). These are as under:
- Level 1 cerebral palsy – The patient is able to move without any hindrance.
- Level 2 cerebral palsy – The patient can walk without limitation but cannot run or jump. Use of assistive devices like leg braces or arm braces may be required during the initial period of learning how to walk.
- Level 3 cerebral palsy – The patient needs some support while sitting down, however, he can stand up on his own. Assistive devices like walkers or cane are required for moving around. Some might even require a wheelchair.
- Level 4 cerebral palsy– The patient can only walk with the use of an assistive device.
- Level 5 cerebral palsy – The patient requires a motorized wheelchair for moving around on his own. A brace may be required to keep the head and neck in position.
Symptoms you need to look out for
The various symptoms associated with cerebral palsy include:
- Difference in muscle tone
- Muscle stiffness and spasticity
- Problem with reflexes
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Sudden and frequent tremors
- Difficulty while sitting down or standing up
- Weakness in one side of the body
- Inability to walk properly
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to swallow food
- Delayed speech development
- Neurological problems like loss of hearing, eye-sight problems, increased risks of oral diseases, urinary incontinence etc.
It is pertinent to note that cerebral palsy can affect the whole body or just one side. Although the symptoms don’t worsen with age, some might become more evident as the child grows. Treatment for cerebral palsy is available at all the best brain hospitals in India. So it is better to not take the symptoms lightly and opt for immediate medical help as this can help your child lead a normal life.