Cerebral Palsy Prognosis

Cerebral palsy significantly impacts the lives of most afflicted individuals through mobility impairment and high risk of developing coexisting conditions; however, early treatment in conjunction with adequate symptom oversight renders the disorder manageable. Moreover, not all forms of cerebral palsy cause comparable symptomologies, with some cerebral palsy patients exhibiting relatively limited visible complications from the disorder to others lacking mobility and self-care skills.

Diagnosis Is Delayed in Cerebral Palsy Cases, However Each Patient with Cerebral Palsy Differs Greatly in Their Specific Future Prognosis

Though early detection is preferred, accepted best medical practices dictate diagnosis is deferred until the age of two as studies have indicated over half of infants thought to have cerebral palsy outgrew movement and muscle tone abnormalities by seven years old. Furthermore, full motor signs indicative of the neurological disorder delay manifestation in most infants until 12 to 24 months of age. Patients receiving a cerebral palsy diagnosis will each display unique symptoms and disorder severity; thus, the individual prognosis varies considerably dependent on the specifications of the case.

Variable Expectancy of Independent Living for Cerebral Palsy Patients Dependent on the Severity of the Disorder

Because the neurological disorder is predominately congenital, diagnosis occurs early catalyzing childhood treatment therapies and regimens, giving most afflicted individuals reasonable expectancy of successful life skill development. However, the likelihood of independent living varies with each patient’s displayed symptom severity.

  • Approximately 50 percent of afflicted individuals exhibit moderate impairment indicative of future satisfactory physical function and mild probability of independent living or disorder management.
  • Moreover, approximately 25 percent of afflicted individuals display some mild physical limitations and minimal self-care issues suggesting probable independent living in adult life.
  • The remaining quarter of cerebral palsy exhibit symptoms to severe to allow for walking and independent living; although, recent technological advancements aim to bring greater independence to physically impaired cerebral palsy patients with the cognitive abilities to manage self-care alone.
  • Three-quarters of cerebral palsy patients eventually achieve walking ability, but many require the use of mobility aids of various specifications.

 Historically, Adult Cerebral Palsy Patients Were Few in Existence, if Any.

Historically, the medical community regarded cerebral palsy as a childhood condition, but modern advances in medical technologies increased life expectancy resulting in a thriving population of adult cerebral palsy patients. Given the current increased prevalence of adult patients, few government, medical or community programs specifically cater to the needs of adult patients; although, some afflicted individuals seek appropriate care levels through hospice facilities. As adult patients outlive parents and other caregivers, they face increasing difficulty providing care for themselves and their disorder in an independent fashion given the limited public and personal resources.

Risk of Future Medical Complications and Development of Coexisting Conditions

Coexisting conditions, such as diminished cognitive abilities, hemiplegia, diplegia, quadriplegia and seizure disorders, frequently accompany the most severe instances of cerebral palsy. Seizure disorders affect one-third of all cerebral palsy patients, while 30 to 50 percent experience mental retardation as a result of the neurological disorder. Furthermore, patients commonly display signs of obesity derivative of an inactive lifestyle associated with the disorder’s effect on muscle formation and mobility impairment. Chronic obesity carries the ramifications of heart disease, high blood pressure and similar long-term complications capable of further exacerbating the afflicted individual’s disorder or other present conditions.

Life Expectancy for Cerebral Palsy Patients by Condition Type

Afflicted individuals with mild to moderate symptoms and medical complications generally expect to match the general population’s life expectancy. Severe or extreme cerebral palsy patients suffer from shorter life expectancies on average due to increased likelihood of unexpected or dangerous complications. Nonetheless, medical advancements and growing understanding of the disorder serve to improve significantly the life expectancy for all cerebral palsy patients. Though the disorder once strictly manifested and in children, even the most severe patients frequently reach 50 to 60 years of age in modernity. Medical practitioners stress the needs for timely and aggressive professional treatment of all manageable acute conditions to improve chances of long life and efficient symptom control.

 

 

References:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2065925/

http://gait.aidi.udel.edu/gaitlab/cpGuide.html

 

 

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