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Nutrition and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders relating to brain injury, usually results in some kind of motor or gait dysfunction.  There is no cure for cerebral palsy.  The exact cause of cerebral palsy can often be difficult to pinpoint as well.  One thing that seems to be important in cerebral palsy more so than other disorders is nutrition.  Nutrition is a very important factor to consider for the pregnant woman, for the nursing mother, and for the person with cerebral palsy all through their lives.

Malnutrition is a condition that can cause serious outcomes, including death.  Malnutrition occurs when the body does not obtain the correct amounts of vitamins, nutrients, and other minerals that it needs to successfully operate.  Malnutrition can be caused by either undernourishment or over-nourishment.

Cerebral palsy may be linked to malnutrition during prenatal or neonatal care.  The nutritional status should be carefully monitored at all times.  A lack of nutrition in the pregnant or nursing mother can cause cerebral palsy to develop because of the damage that it does to the fetal brain tissue.  Nutrition should also be closely monitored at all times in the fetal development.

A person with cerebral palsy may not be able to get the nutrition they need because of a number of factors.  The person may have difficulty in coordinating their muscles in their tongue and mouth to chew and swallow correctly.  This can lead to a refusal or difficulty in eating or drinking.  The person with cerebral palsy may also not be able to physically use eating utensils.  This lack of nutrition can lead to further problems for a person who has cerebral palsy.  Extra nutritional supplements may be necessary in order to stave off malnutrition in a person with cerebral palsy.  Inability to swallow can lead to choking or aspiration of food particles.

There are some solutions for the person with cerebral palsy who is concerned about nutrition.  A speech therapist may actually provide some aid in the form of muscle exercises that can develop the muscles around the mouth.  Having better control of their mouth muscles, people with cerebral palsy can manipulate their nutritional intakes better.  Surgical procedures such as inserting a gastrostomy feeding tube can alleviate any nutrition problems the person with cerebral palsy may have.

Other nutritional problems the person with cerebral palsy may develop include inadequate caloric intake due to vomiting or other stomach related problems.  Some 35% of children with cerebral palsy are malnourished, and the problem needs to be addressed more closely.

If the cerebral palsy developed because of medical mistake or mismanagement (such as failure to detect poor nutrition in the fetus or mother) then you may be entitled to recourse.  Contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer through this Web site for a free consultation immediately.

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