Types of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a term that is used to describe a group of chronic conditions that affect a person’s muscle coordination and body movements.
There are five types of cerebral palsy that relate to the types of movements which are inhibited. They are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy accounts for nearly 80 percent of all cerebral palsy cases, making it the most common type of cerebral palsy. People who suffer from this type of cerebral palsy have one or more tight muscle groups which limit their movement. They typically have stiff, jerky movements and have difficulty moving from one position to another. Spastic cerebral palsy can be further identified by the body parts that are affected. When both legs are affected, the condition is known as spastic diplegia. If only one side of the person’s body is affected, the condition is known as spastic hemiplegia. Spastic quadriplegia affects the entire body (one’s face, arms, and legs).
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Athetoid cerebral palsy, also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is far less common than spastic cerebral palsy, only affecting approximately 10 percent of children who have cerebral palsy. It is characterized by slow, uncontrollable movements that affect the muscles in the hands, feet, muscles, and in rare cases, the face or throat. It is caused by damage to the cerebellum (the portion of the brain that controls balance) or the basal ganglia (the portion of the brain that is responsible for involuntary movements). Involuntary movements often increase when the person is emotionally stressed and virtually disappear during sleep.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy affects roughly 5 to 10 percent of children. It is characterized by low muscle tone and poor coordination of movements. People who have ataxic cerebral palsy have poor coordination, weak sense of balance, and are unsteady and shaky in their movements.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
A person who has more than one type of cerebral palsy is said to have mixed cerebral palsy. Approximately 10 percent of children have mixed cerebral palsy. The most common mix is spastic (characterized by tight muscle tone) and athetoid movements (characterized by involuntary movements), although other variations can occur.
Mild Cerebral Palsy
Mild cerebral palsy is less severe and easier to manage because the brain damage causing them isn’t as serious. Symptoms can go undiagnosed for several years since they are more subtle. It is not uncommon for parents and doctors alike to dismiss any symptoms of mild cerebral palsy as problems that a child will eventually outgrow. Yet, early detection is crucial. With mild cerebral palsy, corrective treatment can be highly effective, so any signs of developmental delay should be tested by your physician.