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What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neuromuscular disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, balance, and posture. It is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain most often before birth.
There is currently no known cure for Cerebral palsy. It is treated with medication and therapies that help to alleviate symptoms. Each case of Cerebral palsy is different, and the disorder can affect the patient in a number of ways.
The disorder can be divided into four types:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
This is the most common type of Cerebral palsy, affecting more than 70% of patients. This type is characterized by increased muscle tone (hypertonia) and stiff, tight muscles. People with spasticity may not be able to relax their muscles, leading to rigid joints.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Also called dyskinetic or dystonic Cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy comprises up 10 to 20% of all cases of Cerebral palsy. It is most commonly characterized by uncontrollable movements.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Affecting around 5 to 10 % of patients, this is the least common type of Cerebral palsy. The name comes from the root word “ataxia,” meaning “uncoordinated.” Patients with this type of Cerebral palsy have difficulties with balance and coordination. It is often diagnosed later in life than other types, usually after a child has reached 18 months of age.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Because forms of the disorder are caused by injuries to different areas of the brain, some patients may exhibit symptoms of more than one type of Cerebral palsy. The most common combination of symptoms is a blend of athetoid and spastic symptoms. Mixed Cerebral palsy accounts for 10% of all cases.
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