Recognizing Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Northern California
Cerebral palsy is the term for a group of disorders caused by abnormalities in the parts of brain responsible for muscle movement. Most people are diagnosed in infancy or the first few years of life. The exact cause of cerebral palsy is not known. Risk factors include low birth weight, premature birth, reduced oxygen supply to the brain, and some infections in mothers during pregnancy.
Early cerebral palsy diagnosis gives children and their families the best chances of overcoming the challenges of cerebral palsy. If you think your child may be experiencing cerebral palsy symptoms in Northern California, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health North State for personal care with humankindness.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are three basic types of cerebral palsy: ataxia, dyskinesia, and spasticity.
- Ataxia is poor coordination or lack of balance when walking or doing other in activities that require fine motor control, like writing.
- Dyskinesia is uncontrolled movement of the hands, arms, legs, or feet, along with poor control of muscles in the face or mouth.
- Spasticity is varying degrees of muscle stiffness affecting some or all of the arms, legs, and torso.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
Cerebral palsy symptoms are usually apparent by the time a child turns three years old. Symptoms of all types of cerebral palsy can range from mild to severe. A mild case of dyskinesia, for example, may cause the hands to tremble. A severe case may cause uncontrolled flailing. Very severe cases of spasticity can lead to almost complete paralysis.
In addition to problems moving muscles, cerebral palsy symptoms can include:
- Learning disabilities
- Difficulty speaking
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
- Hearing loss
- Poor vision
- Abnormal sensations, including pain
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis at Dignity Health North State
Cerebral palsy diagnosis usually begins during your child’s routine visits. At each well-child visit, your pediatrician will check to see whether your baby or toddler is hitting developmental milestones, such as crawling and walking. If your child misses these milestones or shows motor coordination problems, your doctor may perform a special physical exam to evaluate muscle tone and reflexes. Your doctor will likely also check your child for related conditions, like seizures.
Sometimes doctors use additional tests to rule out other possible movement disorders in children. These tests may include:
- Imaging scans of the brain, such as computed tomography (CT)
- Genetic testing
- Blood tests
The sooner you can see a doctor, the better, as early cerebral palsy diagnosis leads to better outcomes. Early interventions can address learning disabilities, connect you with social support systems, and greatly improve your child’s quality of life. Doctors at Dignity Health North State will work with you and your child to address cerebral palsy symptoms and ensure the best possible quality of life.
Dignity Health North State cares for the mental, physical, and spiritual needs of patients experiencing cerebral palsy symptoms in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.