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Cerebral Palsy Effects and Conditions Quick Facts

Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions caused by brain damage that affects a child's ability to control movement and posture. Depending on the area and severity of the brain injury, a child who has cerebral palsy may also develop other effects and conditions. These problems may include:

  • Muscle tightness and spasticity – this cerebral palsy effect affects a majority, but not all, people with this condition, adversely affecting movement and coordination. There are cerebral palsy treatments available to manage muscle contractures and spasticity.
  • Difficulty moving or involuntary movements – This can include disturbances in gait, balance, coordination, walking, staying still, and more depending on an individual's condition and the affected areas of the brain.
  • Mental Retardation – It has been estimated that about one-third of children with cerebral palsy are of average intellect, one-third may be mildly impaired, and one-third are classified as mentally retarded.
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizure Disorders Approximately one out of every three children with cerebral palsy may develop epileptic seizures.
  • Skeletal Problems Over half of children with cerebral palsy will develop contractures , muscle shortening in the limbs, and scoliosis , a curvature of the spine. Both conditions can be treated.
  • Vision Impairment – More than three out of four children with cerebral palsy develop strabismus , a problem in which the eyes are not aligned causing poor vision.
  • Dental problems – A lot of children with cerebral palsy have a lot of dental problems including a high number of cavities, which may be because they have more difficulty brushing their teeth.
  • Hearing impairment – Some children with cerebral palsy may experience full or partial hearing loss as a result of severe jaundice during the first few days of a baby's life.
  • Trouble Swallowing – this can increase the risk of choking on saliva and other complications.
  • Speech Impairment speech may be difficult to understand due to poorly control muscles involved in producing speech.
  • Bladder and Bowel Movement Problems – Poor bladder control (incontinence) due to motor impairments can result in bedwetting, urination during physical activity, or a leaky bladder.
  • Breathing Difficulties – because of postural problems
  • Feeding trouble – the muscles used for feeding may be impaired in people with cerebral palsy. This can lead to malnutrition and troubles with development and growth.
  • Skin disorders- skin problems can arise because of pressure sores



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