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Quadriplegia is a form of cerebral palsy that is characterized by the lack of the ability to move or feel both arms, both legs, and other parts of the body affected. Quadriplegia in cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the spinal cord, which sends messages to body parts important for movement and sensation.
Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe from of cerebral palsy in which all four limbs and the trunk are affected. Children with spastic quadriplegia usually have several compounded disabilities including mental retardation, problems with muscles that control the mouth and tongue, and difficulty in speaking. Some children with quadriplegia also suffer from hemiparetic tremors; an uncontrollable shaking that affects the limbs on one side of the body and impairs normal movement.
A common problem with children suffering from quadriplegia is fluid buildup. Diuretics and steroids are medications administered to decrease any buildup of fluid in the spine that is caused by leakage from dead cells. Additional therapies and surgery are often performed to relieve some symptoms of quadriplegia in cerebral palsy children.
Health care providers can make sure that any complications are avoided or treated quickly in patients with quadriplegia. A bandage known as an abdomen binder can provide support to the abdomen area where weak muscles are unable to do so in quadriplegia. Providing the patient with a special stocking to wear on the legs can prevent blood clots. Rolling over the patient into different body positions can also prevent pressure sores, which develop from staying in the same position for an extended period of time from quadriplegia.
It is important to monitor the heart rate of a person with quadriplegia, and a slow heart rate can be treated with special medications. Hardened feces in a quadriplegia patient are important to monitor because it can cause high blood pressure. Autonomic dysreflexia can be caused by hardened feces, urinary infections, and other problems, resulting in the overreaction of the nervous system and can result in high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Blockage of tubes inserted into the body to drain or enter fluids also needs to be monitored to prevent autonomic dysreflexia in quadriplegia. The proper functioning of the digestive system needs to be monitored as well.
When quadriplegia occurs, it is characterized by a decrease in the normal level of tension that exists in muscles of the arms and legs. There is also a loss of power and sensation below the area of the spinal cord injury. Many people with quadriplegia die of breathing failure because voluntary control over the muscles and organs that are necessary to breathe is dramatically impaired. Thus, it is crucial for health care providers to make sure that someone with quadriplegia can breathe properly. To help people with quadriplegia breathe properly, they may need a machine known as a respirator that artificially breathes for them.
Quadriplegia is an extremely difficult form of cerebral palsy to deal with. The dedication of a family and healthcare provider is critical for a quadriplegia cerebral palsy patient's well being. Your support is the best therapy that they can get, and although they may have difficulty showing you, they really do appreciate it.