Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects an individual's posture, muscle tone, and movement. Most cases are caused by damage done to the brain before birth. Symptoms of this condition typically appear during infancy or toddler years. Examples of these symptoms include rigidity or floppiness of the trunk and limbs, involuntary movements, abnormal reflexes, unsteady walking, and abnormal posture. Cerebral palsy can be a systemic disorder, or it may only affect one side or limb in the body. While certain symptoms may become more apparent with age, the underlying cause is not progressive.
Thankfully, there are several cerebral palsy treatment options out there. Patients may need medication for cerebral palsy, including oral muscle relaxants and nerve or muscle injections. Physical therapy for cerebral palsy is also common, as is occupational therapy and speech therapy. Some individuals may need surgery for cerebral palsy as well. Of course, some may need a stander for cerebral palsy or a cerebral palsy walking device. In the end, though, cerebral palsy also has a variety of complications attached to it. Learn about these now.
Cerebral palsy patients may experience malnutrition as a complication. Malnutrition is a condition where an individual does not receive the proper amount of nutrition. One of the leading causes of malnutrition in individuals with cerebral palsy is called dysphagia or oral-motor dysfunction. A healthy individual has muscles coordinated to transfer food from their mouth to their esophagus and down into their stomach. Cerebral palsy patients can experience dysfunction in these muscles, which can cause them to have difficulty breathing, talking, and swallowing.
Other factors can also play into the development of malnutrition in this disorder. It may be harder for an individual to consume adequate nutrition and calories when they cannot hold their utensils and physically feed themselves. Another aspect that complicates the sufficient consumption of food in cerebral palsy patients is gastrointestinal issues. Acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and heartburn are common and make eating uncomfortable or painful.