For every 1000 births in India, three infants are affected by cerebral palsy (CP). While 1.7 crore people worldwide suffer from this disease, there are about 25 lakh people in the country. The statistics of the Central Health and Family Welfare Department state that 72 percent of them are in rural India.One in four children affected by this disease cannot speak. One in three cannot walk. One in every two people lack age-appropriate intelligence (intellectual disability). Seizures affect one in four people. Experts say that cerebral palsy is of variable severity and many improve with age and achieve independence.
Depending on the damage to the brain and the nerves it affects, the function of the respective organs will be adversely affected. Low blood glucose levels cause visual impairment. They have seizures. Walking slows down. If there is reduced oxygen supply to the brain during birthing process speech, mobility and swallowing might be affected, there is a risk of seizures. If all four limbs are affected with spasticity or movement abnormality, they are at higher risk of contracting pneumonia.
However, in most of the affected people, only one or two organs are affected. Medical experts say that despite the difficulties to that extent, they will live a full life term. Therefore, doctors suggest that there is no need to worry immediately about being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Treatment according to symptoms
If the child is unable to balance its neck even after crossing six months, if the child is unable to see even after 3 months….or having sudden fits from the age of 4-6 months, if his/her growth is delayed, parents should consult pediatrician/pediatric neurologist Treatment depending on the symptoms.
Physiotherapy needs to be performed if there is delay in motor development. If there are seizures, then medication pertaining to it and nutrition should be provided. Visual rehabilitation in case of impaired vision.
Preventive measures should include a nutritious diet during pregnancy. Antenatal vaccinations 3 months before planned pregnancy (MMR and varicella vaccine). If high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus are present, they should be controlled. Monitoring the fetal heart rate and other parameters during the delivery to reduce the risk of Hypoxia. In case of premature early transfer to a place with good neonatal facilities for delivery need to be planned. Risk of hypoglycemia is maximal during day 2-4 of life and in at risk newborn who need to be monitored closely and prevent hypoglycemia. Care should be taken to prevent accidental head injuries.