In medical practice, it is not uncommon to hear parents lament that a child of three years old is experiencing difficulty in maintaining balance when sitting, standing or walking. Difficulties in hearing and talking are even noticeable in some of these children. These clinical conditions are often associated with CEREBRAL PALSY also known as Little’s disease.
Cerebral palsy is a medical problem of posture and movement which is caused by PERMANENT and non-progressive insult to the developing brain. In the developing world, it is the commonest cause of physical handicap. About 50% of children attending neurologic clinic in Nigeria presents with features of cerebral palsy.
CAUSES OF CEREBRAL PALSY
- Preterm babies
- Birth asphyxia: – This is usually observed or suspected when a child does not cry/ breathe immediately at birth.
- Neonatal jaundice: – Usually suspected when a child’s eyeballs and/ or skin are yellowish
- Mother taking alcohol in pregnancy
- Prolong convulsion
- Excessive bleeding in pregnancy
- Infection during pregnancy
- Difficulty in sitting, standing and walking inappropriate for age.
- Unsatisfactory report of development of the child by the caregiver.
- Persistent fisting at age above 2 months. This means that the child continues to clench his fist at age more than 2 months.
- Sialorrhea: Excessive saliva in the mouth to the point of drooling.
Other problems associated with cerebral palsy include:
- Mental retardation
Your child’s doctor might request for the following investigations:
CT scan/ MRI of the brain
This condition is NOT curable. Therefore, it is best avoided when possible.
Management of this condition requires multi-disciplinary approach: –
- Paediatric neurologist
- Speech therapist
- Paediatric nurse
HOW TO PREVENT CEREBRAL PALSY
- In pregnancy, fever can lead to preterm labour hence, medical attention should be sought immediately.
- Mothers should be observant enough to report yellowness of eyeball or skin within 24-48 hours of onset.
- Any infection in a child can be complicated with meningitis. Fever, catarrh, cough, conjunctivitis, ear discharge, skin infection, sore throat etc should be reported in the hospital without delay.
- Bleeding: Bleeding in pregnancy is a danger sign. Therefore, report to the hospital when noticed.
FINAL NOTES: Cerebral Palsy children or adults are by no means less human. They are integral part of the society demanding for sense of belonging…
Dr. Adeyemo Olusola is a medical graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Nigeria along with certificate in advanced diploma in Principles of Nutrition, Management and Leadership, Dublin and Certificate in Global Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is an avid reader of books from different oases of life, expert in Medical Statistics and an award winner at both local and international level. “So many a time, I have seen people die avoidable death because of lack of knowledge or information, falling victim of fate. There is then a necessity laid on us to help arm our society to the teeth, as a healthy society cannot be detached from an informed one. Hence, there is need for healthgist.net. We hope you will have a wonderful stay on our website.”