Cerebral palsy does its damage directly to the areas of the brain responsible for muscle movement and control. Cerebral palsy is a disease that is diagnosed in infancy or early childhood. It does not get worse over time and has no known cure.
Cerebral palsy strikes nearly 9,000 children each year in the U.S., and although there is no cure, treatment can keep symptoms under control for many people, allowing thousands to lead near-normal lives. Children with severe cerebral palsy may have a shortened lifespan, primarily due to health complications of CP rather than the disease itself. If your child has a mild case life expectancy should be similar to that of a person without the illness.
Cerebral palsy does not have one single cause, nor are all cases of the same severity. So follow the advice of your primary care physician and any specialists you are referred to, and keep up with new approaches to treatment, like those from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
To better understand the most common signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy start with a visit to the site of the Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic - Symptoms of CP
Your Cerebral Palsy
As you start to figure out your particular case of CP and how to stay healthy and manage symptoms, this Medline Plus page, created by the National Institutes of Health, will help you understand your options, as will an easy-to-follow WebMD page:
It's not always easy to diagnose cerebral palsy. If you're unsure whether your child has the condition, visit this site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities:"Learn the Signs. Act Early."
Not sure what to ask your doctor about your child? Here's some guidance from Healthscout.com:Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cerebral Palsy
Survivors Say: Best Resources for Cerebral Palsy
- United Cerebral Palsy: This website covers most of what you'd like to know about CP, from symptoms and diagnosis to treatments and support groups. It's a great first stop for those who've just been diagnosed.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: The cerebral palsy section on the NIDS site, an agency of the National Institutes of Health, is an excellent overview of CP, covering prognosis, treatment, and clinical trials, among other topics.