What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Mild Cerebral Palsy?
Life expectancy is not applicable to any individual, as it is a generalization about a large group of people, not any particular individual.
People in the highest-functioning subgroup of cerebral palsy patients must be able to:
- Walk well without assistance for at least 20 feet
- Maintain balance well without assistance
- Use eating utensils consistently to self-feed without spillage
Every person’s situation is unique, so we cannot really estimate life expectancy for someone with mild cerebral palsy. Many different factors can control how long a person lives.
An Overview of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that are the result of damage to the developing brain, usually before birth. Parents and doctors usually notice the person’s symptoms when the patient is an infant or toddler.
A person with cerebral palsy has difficulty controlling how his body moves. He might have poor muscle tone and atypical posture. His arms, legs, and trunk can be floppy or rigid. He might make involuntary movements. His reflexes might be abnormal. He might be unsteady on his feet or struggle to walk.
The Spectrum of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can range from mild to severe. Mild cerebral palsy can mean either that the person has only a few of the possible functional impairments or that his cerebral palsy limitations are not at the severe end of the spectrum.
Some people with cerebral palsy can walk, while others cannot walk or can only do so with assistance. Some patients have intellectual impairments, while others have average or close to average intellect. Cerebral palsy can cause seizures or impaired vision or hearing in some people.
For some people, the cerebral palsy only affects one side of the body or one arm or leg. Others might have functional limitations that impact the entire body. The symptoms of cerebral palsy seldom worsen as the patient gets older, unless the child did not receive aggressive treatment when needed. A person with cerebral palsy requires long-term care throughout childhood and adulthood with a team of medical professionals.
Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
The patient’s medical team will create a treatment plan, that according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development can include a combination of some of these interventions:
- When a child with cerebral palsy has severely stiff, tightly contracted muscles, he might need surgery to lengthen the muscles. Doctors can improve the position of arms or legs through surgery. Operations can improve or correct abnormal curvature of the spine. As a last resort, sometimes doctors sever nerves to treat spastic, involuntary movements.
- Orthotic devices like braces, casts, and splints can help the patient with movement and balance. Some people need wheelchairs, walkers, or electric scooters.
- Communication devices can help the patient who has difficulty with speech.
- Prescription drugs can include anti-seizure medications and medicine to reduce abnormal movement and relax stiff or overactive muscles. Some patients receive their prescription drugs through pumps implanted near the spinal cord. Others take their medications by injection or by mouth.
- A person with cerebral palsy typically will start physical therapy very early in life and continue the exercises and activities throughout life. These interventions can improve muscle strength, movement, and balance. Also, physical therapy for people with cerebral palsy can include occupational therapy to learn things like dressing and school skills, recreational therapy to improve intellectual and physical abilities, and speech and language therapy like speaking more clearly or using sign language or a communication device.
The actual treatment plan will depend on the needs of the individual patient. As with many conditions, aggressive and early intervention provides the best outcomes and quality of life for the patient with mild cerebral palsy.
Getting Legal Help for Mild Cerebral Palsy
If your child has cerebral palsy, you probably have many questions, including the life expectancy for someone with mild cerebral palsy. You might feel overwhelmed taking care of your child and going to the many doctor appointments and therapy sessions. If you think that your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of someone’s negligence, the lawyers at Newsome Melton can help.
We can evaluate your situation and let you know if you might have a right to receive compensation. If we take your case, you will be able to focus on your child and your family, knowing that we are handling your legal matters.
Call Newsome Melton today at (855) 633-2757 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.
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