Cerebral Palsy

How does cerebral palsy affect the body?

A Answers (2)

  • Some individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) have other conditions, such as impaired intellectual development, seizures, failure to grow and thrive, and vision and sense of touch problems.

    Some individuals, particularly those with spastic hemiplegia, have muscles and limbs that are smaller than normal. Limbs on the side of the body affected by CP may grow slower than those on the other side. Hands and feet are most severely affected. The affected foot in cases of hemiplegia usually is the smaller of the two, even in patients who walk, suggesting the size difference is due not to disuse but to a disrupted growth process. Limbs affected by CP in most instances do not reach normal physical size.

    Vision and hearing problems are more common in people with cerebral palsy than in the general population. Differences in the left and right eye muscles often cause the eyes to be misaligned. This condition, called strabismus, causes double vision. In children, however, the brain often adapts by ignoring signals from one eye. Because strabismus can lead to poor vision and impaired depth perception, some physicians recommend corrective surgery.

    Patients with hemiparesis may have hemianopia, a condition marked by impaired vision or blindness in half of the visual field in one or both eyes. A related condition, called homonymous hemianopia, causes impairment in the right or left half of the visual fields in both eyes.

    Sensations of touch or pain may be impaired. An individual with stereognosis, for example, has difficulty perceiving or identifying the form and nature of an object placed in their hand using the sense of touch alone. A decrease in feeling may contribute to the difficulty in perception.

    Hip dislocation, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), incontinence (inability to control the urine flow), constipation, dental caries (tooth decay), bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes), skin sores, and asthma are other complications commonly experienced by people with CP.

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  • Cerebral palsy affects the body by causing difficulty in muscle control and movement. In some cases these difficulties can lead to other problems. Sometimes, the stiffness of muscles is so severe that limbs are contorted. Difficulty eating caused by cerebral palsy can result in malnutrition.

This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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Are any other conditions associated with cerebral palsy?