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The Lasting Effects of Cerebral Palsy

Wagner Reese

Cerebral palsy isn't a progressive disease which means it doesn't get worse with age. Still, this lifelong disorder comes with permanent physical impairment and the risk of secondary conditions like seizure disorders, hearing impairment, and respiratory problems. Most children with cerebral palsy live long and happy lives but the condition does require long-term management to maintain their quality of life.

Growing Up With Cerebral Palsy

Altered or slowed development and growth is common with cerebral palsy. Many children and adults with CP cannot walk independently. Children often do not reach developmental milestones on time. Growing up, muscle and bone growth is affected. Children with cerebral palsy may not reach a normal height and may have thinner, shorter limbs. This can lead to painful muscle contractures, improper spinal growth and deformities, and chronic pain due to misaligned and deformed joints.

Difficulties with fine motor skills and sometimes an inability to fully control the muscles of the mouth and throat means some people with cerebral palsy require assistance with eating and other daily tasks. These issues also increase the risk of gum disease and cavities.

Cerebral palsy can be an isolating condition and children may face social stigma as they grow up as well as frustration with their restrictions. This increases the risk of mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Complications of Cerebral Palsy

Unfortunately, many people with cerebral palsy face complications throughout their life. These complications and secondary conditions depend on the type of cerebral palsy but they must be managed carefully to maintain your child's quality of life.

Because cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder, secondary neurological conditions are common. About 40% of people with CP have epilepsy and up to half have had at least one seizure. A seizure disorder may not be life-threatening but it can affect daily activities and require medication and even surgery. Other neurological problems may also occur such as sleeping disorders, which affect 20% of people with CP, and autism, which affects about 7% of people.

Cognitive disabilities are also common, affecting 35% to 50% of people with CP, although most people with cerebral palsy have normal or above-normal intelligence. Children with epilepsy and CP are at the highest risk of an intellectual disability. Some children with cerebral palsy struggle with learning disabilities and speech impairments which can be just as isolating as the physical impairments of the disorder.

Some people with cerebral palsy have severe vision problems and/or severe hearing impairments. Depending on the severity, these complications may be treated with contacts, glasses, corrective surgery, or a cochlear implant.

Living a Happy, Long Life with Cerebral Palsy

Finding out your child has cerebral palsy can be devastating and frightening. While cerebral palsy can be a very serious condition with many risks, the good news is every case of cerebral palsy is unique and most children do adjust to their limitations and go on to live very full lives. While your child's life will obviously be forever impacted by cerebral palsy, the condition and complications can be managed to maintain your child's quality of life as they get older.

Some cases of cerebral palsy are unavoidable but the unfortunate truth is many cases are the direct result of medical negligence. If you suspect your child's condition was caused by a doctor's negligence during pregnancy or childbirth, it's important to discuss your potential case with an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer. Your child may face lifelong medical needs and quality medical care is one of the most crucial elements to giving them the best possible life. Contact an Indiana personal injury attorney at Wagner Reese today to explore your legal options for seeking compensation to provide your child with a bright future.

Get in touch with a qualified Indiana personal injury attorney today, call (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free consultation.

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