Cerebral Palsy Types

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that is believed to affect nearly half-a-million people in the United States alone, with several million more across the globe living with it. However, there are numerous types of cerebral palsy, each with their own symptoms.

While the entire list would be too long for this piece, below you’ll find the most common versions.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

By far, the most prevalent form of cerebral palsy is the spastic version. This accounts for roughly 80% of those afflicted with the disorder.

People who have spastic cystic fibrosis feature a noticeable tone to their musculature. This is a symptom of their muscles being stiff which is also why their movements can be so awkward and rigid.

This category of cerebral palsy can be broken down into three more, depending on where exactly it affects the body:

  • Spastic diplegia/diparesis is when cystic fibrosis is located on the legs and not so much in the arms. The scissoring motion it can cause in the affected person’s legs usually makes it difficult to walk.
  • Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis is the kind that only affects one side of the body. The person’s arm is almost always worse off than their leg.
  • Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis refers to the most severe form of the disorder; wherein the entire body is affected. Symptoms can also include poor vision, problems hearing and speaking and even seizures.

While this is the most common type of cystic fibrosis, the other 20% are worth knowing about too. Most of those fall under the following.

Hypotonic

Unlike other forms of cerebral palsy, this one is most distinguishable because the person has musculature that is lacking tone or can even be floppy.

Epidural Hematoma Cerebral Palsy

This is another form of cerebral palsy with a dubious distinction. For this one, the issue is that it’s the only version not named after the symptoms it causes, but what caused it. With epidural hematoma cerebral palsy, the triggering event was a stroke the child suffered, usually during the birthing process.

Dyskinetic

People with this type of cerebral palsy struggle to control their arms, legs, hands and feet. As such, they have trouble walking and sitting.

  • Athetoid cerebral palsy’s symptoms include involuntary movements that are slow and writhing.
  • Choreoathetoid palsy features irregular motions that are twisting and curving.
  • Dystonic cerebral palsy is when trunk movements have more symptoms than those to do with the person’s limbs.

Ataxic

People who suffer from this kind of cerebral palsy struggle with balance and coordination. They may be able to walk, but still have problems doing so. Quick movements are a struggle for them as well, especially those that demand a good amount of control. Writing, for example, is usually quite difficult. Most will also have a hard time trying to reach for something because of issues with their hands or arms.

Grade 1 IHV Cerebral Palsy

In most cases, this is the mildest form of cerebral palsy. In fact, a lot of children who suffer from it will recover 100%. While they may suffer some developmental setbacks, with the right amount of physical therapy, it shouldn’t be an ongoing problem that affects them for the rest of their lives.

Extrapyramidal Cerebral Palsy

This form of cerebral palsy doesn’t necessarily affect the person’s muscles like the other forms do. Instead, symptoms will include things like motor skill problems, trouble speaking and issues with the person’s respiratory system.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

A lot of people have some combination of the above as well. It all depends on what caused the damage that resulted in cerebral palsy.

While many of these may seem quite similar, it’s important that diagnosis is accurate right down to the symptom so the affected person can get the treatment they need.

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