• Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Let’s talk CP

ByMuthoni Githire

Sep 14, 2020

There are so many myths and misconceptions associated with Cerebral Palsy, and what we need to understand is that it is a condition like any other and can affect anyone. It is the most common movement disorder in children. Cerebral Palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. It is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. Often, these problems occur during pregnancy, but they may also occur during childbirth or shortly after birth. Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy vary among individuals and over time. They include poor coordination, muscle weakness and stiffness and tremors. Vision, hearing, swallowing, speaking and sensation may also be affected. Other symptoms include seizures and reasoning and thinking problems. The good news is that these problems do not often worsen over time.

The cause of Cerebral Palsy is not known, but risk factors include preterm birth, infections during pregnancy such as rubella, difficult delivery, head trauma during the first few years of life, exposure to methylmercury during pregnancy among others. About 2% of cerebral palsy cases are believed to be inherited. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and child’s development over time.

CP is partly preventable through immunization of the mother and efforts to prevent head injuries during birth and in children. There is no known cure for CP. Supportive treatments, medications and surgery may help many individuals. This may include physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Medications used include diazepam, baclofen and botulinum toxin. These drugs may help relax the stiff muscles of someone with CP.

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