Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in children, with one in 345 children identified with the illness. Cerebral palsy can be caused by stroke, and prematurity is a leading cause in children. However, it is widely accepted that CP is the result of a sequence of events rather than one causal factor. Some of the symptoms include stiff or frozen muscles, uncontrollable movements, and poor coordination. The condition can cause some complications, some of which are explored below.
Stroke And CP
Cerebral palsy can be caused by strokes in adults or children. A cerebral palsy stroke in a newborn may not be obvious, but can cause braindamage, learning difficulties and behavioral issues. Studies have shown that children with CP after perinatal stroke are more likely to have another disability, such as epilepsy or cognitive impairment. Some children do not present their symptoms until later in childhood, but it is important to recognize there may be further support required should they show any difficulties in their development.
Childhood CP Complications
Children who present symptoms of CP early may have feeding difficulties, drooling, muscle spasms, pain, and difficulty communicating. There may also be more signs; therefore, if you see anything unusual in your child’s development, it is important to take them to see your local physician. It is thought that 70-80% of CP cases are acquired prenatally; some studies attribute the condition to asphyxia during childbirth. Spotting difficulties in childhood development early on can help to prevent any further complications from the symptoms, trauma or stress during later life.
CP In Adulthood
Adults with CP can have difficulties transitioning, and may face mental health challenges. Some may withdraw from social interactions; some may have increased pain as they try to participate more in activities they have never tried before. Complications from CP can become difficult in adulthood due to the expectations of independence and the pressures people naturally put upon themselves. This can result in stress, anxiety and depression. More research is required on interventions and the causality of the condition to assist those affected in later life.
Seeking support from family and friends can help adults cope better with later life complications. CP can be a complicated illness to spot in childhood, but finding some support can help families come to terms with this.