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5 facts everyone should know about cerebral palsy

1. Cerebral palsy is not an illness

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by injury to the immature brain. The injury could be caused by an infection, an accident, lack of oxygen, problems at birth, or, in some cases, it may have a genetic link. However, there may be no obvious cause.

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2. Cerebral palsy can not be cured

Cerebral palsy is permanent. What can change is the effects this brain damage has on individuals. Treatments and therapies can improve muscle tone and practical ability.

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3.Cerebral palsy describes the condition

Terms such as ‘spasticity’, ‘diplegia’ and ‘hemiplegia’ refer to how the person’s body is affected. Spasticity means that muscles are very tight and can be painful and spasm. Diplegia means that two limbs (normally the legs) are affected. Hemiplegia means one side of the body is affected.

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4.Cerebral palsy is primarily physical

Depending on the location and severity of the damage to the brain, some people with cerebral palsy will have learning, cognitive or sensory impairments, but there are also lots of people who have above average intelligence, go to university and are employed in a variety of roles.

Girl in wheelchair

5. People do not die of cerebral palsy

The effects of cerebral palsy on someone’s body may cause further medical issues. For example, if they are profoundly affected and unable to maintain an upright sitting and standing posture, therefore using a wheelchair, they may be putting increased pressure on their heart and lungs. In general, and with the right support, people with cerebral palsy have the same life expectancy as anyone else.

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Man in wheelchair at a barIf you would like further information and advice about cerebral palsy, Scope’s Helpline Manager Veronica Lynch is answering your questions on our online community now. Why not drop her a line!

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