Cerebral palsy is a neurological deficit that occurs due to damage to the brain. Brain damage can occur before the baby is born (prenatal), during the birthing process (natal) or soon after the baby is born (post natal). There are four classifications of cerebral palsy which include spastic, athetoid, ataxic and mixed.
Approximately 30 percent of those affected with cerebral palsy have mixed cerebral palsy. Mixed cerebral palsy is present when the symptoms of more than one of the three main types of Spastic, Athetoid or Ataxic are present. The most common type of mixed cerebral palsy is the presence of spastic and athetoid symptoms.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
The most common type is Spastic cerebral palsy which accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of all cases. Spastic cerebral palsy affects the muscles of the limbs causing stiffness and at times and they become permanently contracted. Uncontrollable movement, shaking or tremors can be severe and lead to inability or difficulty in moving the affected limbs. It is further divided into specific classifications depending on which limbs are affected. It can affect one or both arms or legs or the limbs on one side of the body.
Athetoid or Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Characterized by slow, writhing movements, Athetoid or Dyskinetic cerebral palsy accounts for about 10 to 20 percent of cerebral palsy cases. The symptoms of athetoid cerebral palsy can worsen during times of stress and generally are not present during the hours of sleep. The muscles of the face or the tongue can be affect which may result in uncontrolled facial grimacing or drooling. When the condition affects the tongue muscle there can be difficulty in speaking or eating. Other muscles that may be affected with athetoid cerebral palsy include the hands, feet, arms or the legs resulting in uncontrollable movements.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
The least common type of cerebral palsy is ataxic which affects between 5 and 10 percent of cerebral palsy patients. Ataxic cerebral palsy is characterized by deficits of depth perception and balance. These deficits result in an awkward gait usually with a wide based stride and in poor coordination. Poor coordination is particularly noticeable with fine motor skills. Another symptom of ataxic cerebral palsy is an intention tremor which occurs when the patient is intentionally attempting voluntary motor function such as reaching for or picking up an object resulting in dropping or knocking the object over or away.
October 30th, 2010
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