Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy Associated Conditions
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Up to 50% of the cases of Cerebral Palsy have no known cause at present though there are specific risk factors for infants and young children who develop Cerebral Palsy.

Risk Factors for Infants who Develop Cerebral Palsy.
Prematurity and or low birth weight (< 5 lb 7 oz)
The chance of a premature infant developing CP increases as birth weight decreases. Prematurity can be associated with multiple births (triplets, twins, etc.) or intrauterine growth retardation. While prematurity is a known risk factor for CP, what is not clear is whether the premature infant already had brain abnormalities or whether the damage occurred during or in early life. The chance of a brain (intracranial) hemorrhage also increases with decreasing birth weight. Jaundice associated with preterm birth can also be a factor.


Complications During Pregnancy
The mother may be exposed to an infection such as German Measles (Rubella). She may have unknowingly been exposed to an environmental toxin such mercury or taken drugs or medications that she did not know would harm the infant. She may have consumed unsafe levels of alcohol. Low birth weight is sometimes associated with tobacco use. The mother may have had inadequate nutrition.

RH incompatibility between the mother and the infant used to be a common factor, but now there is a treatment that can be given to the mother which has reduced if not eliminated that risk.

Other complications that can arise in the mother's health during pregnancy that can play a role are: vaginal bleeding after the 6th month, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, proteinuria.

Complications At or Around Birth
It should be noted that while lack of oxygen during birth can be a factor in CP, it has been discovered that for most babies, the damage is likely to have taken place before birth. In these cases, the delivery may be slower because the baby cannot move normally to assist in the process.

Risk factors which might lead to CP include: insufficient oxygen during birth which may be caused by an umbilical cord wrapped around the neck or severe contractions which decrease the blood flow (and therefore oxygen) to the or a difficult or prolonged delivery such as breech birth (born feet or buttocks first)

The baby may have a low Apgar score. The Apgar test is routinely given to newborns. It consists of scoring the infant on the following criteria: heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color. Each are scored as: 0 (low), 1 (intermediate), or 2 (normal) after delivery. A total score of 7-10 at 5 minutes is considered normal; 4-6, intermediate; and 0-3, low. Scores that remain low 10-20 minutes after delivery indicate increased risk for CP.

Factors in Early Childhood
In the first years, especially before the age of two, the brain is still growing and maturing and is therefore more susceptible to damage. Sustaining a head injury, contracting meningitis or some other serious infection, not getting enough oxygen due to choking or an accident are all factors that can increase the risk of developing CP.

Diagnosis
If the baby has clearly experienced brain damage, the doctor and the parents will discuss the potential difficulties and impairments the child might face. Otherwise Pediatricians are wary of telling parents that they suspect that an infant has CP until the symptoms have become more obvious and the behavior is sustained. Babies develop at different rates though there are "norms" – the ages at which the average infant acquires abilities.

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Associated Conditions of Cerebral Palsy: Hearing, Depression, Breathing Problems,
Drooling, ADHD, ADD, Bowel issues, Swallowing, Epilepsy, Speech Problems.