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What causes cerebral palsy?

Having a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy can be a very difficult experience, as you may have serious questions and concerns over his or her health and well-being. Web M.D. explains that cerebral palsy is a non-degenerative disorder caused by trauma to the brain during development. Several different types of chronic palsy disorders fall under the CP category, and symptoms commonly associated with the disorder can vary in nature and severity. Being familiar with the primary causes for CP can help you as a parent better understand your child’s condition and needs, as well as recognize if and where liability for his or her brain trauma lies.

Even though cerebral palsy is a common cause of disability in children, there is still much about the disorder that has yet to be fully understood by parents and the medical community. Even so, it is estimated that around 10,000 infants are diagnosed with the disorder every year in the U.S. It is also widely understood that a number of traumatic events prior to, during and/or after birth can cause brain damage that results in the disorder.

Around 10 percent of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy develop the disorder within the first few months or years of their life. Brain infections like viral encephalitis and bacterial meningitis can cause CP, and physical head trauma is also linked to the disorder. Beyond that, there are a number of risk factors associated with the developmental and birthing process that can increase the likelihood of an infant developing CP. Risk factors include but are not limited to:

  •          Low birth weight
  •          Premature birth
  •          Breach birth

It is also important to note that cerebral palsy is linked to significant head trauma and/or oxygen deprivation sustained during fetal development and labor and delivery.

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