Cerebral Palsy Essay

1503 words - 7 pages

More than half of the people affected by cerebral palsy are children. This can be considered a crisis. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition, ranging from mild to severe, often accompanied by physical, mental, and emotional affects. Doctors everywhere have been working to prevent it, since most cases happen during or shortly after labor. The main cause is lack of oxygen to the brain, although there are many other causes such as a blood vessel bursting in the brain or a maternal infection. This being said, CP is for the most part known to be an incurable condition, but recent studies have shown that there might be a cure in the works—especially for children.
According to cerebralpalsy.org, seven hundred and sixty-four thousand individuals that live in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. Five hundred thousand of those are under 18. Even though CP is an irreversible condition, there are ways to prevent it and effectively treat it to make it seem like it is cured.
As stated in Webster’s Medical dictionary, a palsy is “impaired function or paralysis.” Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Brain injury or malformation before, during, or after birth is the cause of CP. Everybody that has it is affected differently. Contrary to popular belief, CP is not a disease. It is “a term used to describe a range of conditions that typically cause physical impairment” (The Ultimate Resource for Everything Cerebral Palsy).
Since CP is a neurological disorder, there are a number of associative conditions that go along with it. An example of these is hearing/vision loss and epileptic seizures. Studies show that 86% of people with CP also have trouble controlling facial muscles, which often leads to difficulty breathing, swallowing, and/or communicating (The Ultimate Resource for Everything Cerebral Palsy).
There are also different types of CP, which can vary in symptoms and severity. Not every person has the same type, and the most common type is spastic. This occurs in 61-76.9% of cases. The other less common types are non-spastic, ataxic, and dyskinetic--which is separated into the subgroups of athetoid and dystonic. There is also such thing as “no CP” which means that the person acquired the damage after the brain was completely developed, but still has signs of CP (The Ultimate Resource for Everything Cerebral Palsy). Some people are wheelchair bound, some can walk just fine, and others are right in between the two. Some common signs and symptoms of CP are varied muscle tone, exaggerated reflexes, excessive drooling, and difficulty walking. All of these vary with the person (mayoclinic.org).
People with CP can either be diagnosed at birth, or within the first two years of life. In some cases, babies are born prematurely. In the book Karen by Marie Killilea, she compares her daughter’s premature birth to a drama, saying “Contrary to custom, the drama was enacted almost three months before the announced date.” Although the life expectancy of someone...

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