Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that results from abnormalities or damage to an infant's brain. This damage to the brain can occur while the infant is still in her mother's womb up to age 2, according to MedlinePlus. In the United States, about 800,000 people have cerebral palsy and around 10,000 infants born each year will go on to develop cerebral palsy, noted the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Several types of cerebral palsy exist, which differ on the presenting symptoms.
The most common type of cerebral palsy is spastic cerebral palsy, which the American Pregnancy Association noted occurs in 70 to 80 percent of cerebral palsy patients. Spastic cerebral palsy patients have stiff muscles, which can make it hard for them to move. The NINDS lists three types of spastic cerebral palsy: spastic hemiparesis, spastic diparesis and spastic quadriparesis. Patients with spastic hemiparesis have stiff muscles on one side of the body, affecting their hand and arm, though the leg can also become affected. Some patients may have scoliosis or seizures. With spastic diparesis, patients have stiffness in their legs and their toes point upwards, and they may need leg braces to walk. The muscle stiffness in this type of spastic cerebral palsy does not affect the face and arms as much as it does the legs, though patients may have clumsy movements with their hands. The last type of spastic cerebral palsy is spastic quadriparesis, which the NINDS notes is the most severe type of cerebral palsy. Patients with spastic quadriparesis can have difficulty speaking, intellectual disabilities, severe muscle stiffness, frequent seizures, a floppy neck and may not be able to walk.
Between 10 to 20 percent of cerebral palsy patients have dyskinetic cerebral palsy, also called athetoid cerebral palsy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.