Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of chronic disorders that impair the control of movement, usually appear within the first few years of life and generally do not worsen over time. These disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves, but instead are the result of faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain, disrupting the brain's ability to adequately control movement and posture. A typical cause of this damage is trauma or injury during the birth process.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy lie can vary greatly in their severity, such as:
- Difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as:
- Cutting with scissors
- Experience trouble with maintaining balance and walking
- Affected by involuntary movements, such as:
- Uncontrollable writhing motion of the hands
There currently is no cure for Cerebral palsy.
The three primary forms of cerebral palsy include:
Spastic cerebral palsy
In this form of cerebral palsy, which affects 70 to 80 percent of patients, the muscles are stiffly and permanently contracted. Doctors will often describe the type of spastic cerebral palsy based on which limbs are affected.
When both legs are affected by spasticity, they may turn in and cross at the knees. This causes a characteristic walking rhythm, known as the scissors gait.
Individuals with spastic hemiparesis may also experience hemiparetic tremors, in which uncontrollable shaking affects the limbs on one side of the body. If these tremors are severe, they can seriously impair movement.
Athetoid, or dyskinetic cerebral palsy
Athetoid cerebral palsy affects about 10 to 20 percent of patients and is characterized by uncontrolled, slow, writhing movements affecting the hands, feet, arms, or legs and, in some cases, the muscles of the face and tongue, causing grimacing or drooling. Often these movements increase during periods of emotional stress and disappear during sleep. Patients may also have problems coordinating the muscle movements needed for speech, a condition known as dysarthria.
Ataxic cerebral palsy
The ataxic form is rare, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of cerebral palsy patients. The patient's sense of balance and depth perception are affected, resulting in:
- poor coordination
- walk unsteadily with a wide-based gait, placing their feet unusually far apart
- experience difficulty when attempting quick or precise movements, such as writing or buttoning a shirt
They may also have intention tremor. In this form of tremor, beginning a voluntary movement, such as reaching for a book, causes a trembling that affects the body part being used and that worsens as the individual gets nearer to the desired object.
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