Key Facts and Statistics About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy Information, Featured

female doctor hand interacting with virtual patient chart of child with cerebral palsy

Medical researchers dedicate their careers to learning all they can about cerebral palsy. Their work has shed light on many notable cerebral palsy facts and statistics that help us understand more about the condition, its causes and risk factors and treatment options. Read on for the latest cerebral palsy facts and statistics.

How Common is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a common condition. According to the CDC:

  • Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood.
  • The prevalence of CP worldwide ranges from 1 to nearly 4 per 1,000 live births or per 1,000 children but in the US the number is about 1 in 345 children.
  • The prevalence of CP is higher for children born preterm or at low birthweight.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has found that cerebral palsy may be even more common in the United States. It estimates that three American children in every 1000 have cerebral palsy. That makes it the most common motor disability impacting children in the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional facts about the prevalence of cerebral palsy:

  • Males are more likely to develop cerebral palsy than females.
  • Black children are more likely to develop cerebral palsy than white children.
  • Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common cerebral palsy affecting children. Between 75% and 85% of children with cerebral palsy have this type. Spastic cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles and makes moving difficult.
  • Congenital cerebral palsy is more common than acquired cerebral palsy. Congenital cerebral palsy develops before or during birth.
  • While most cases of cerebral palsy are congenital, meaning the condition develops before or during birth, most children do not get their cerebral palsy diagnosis until the age of one or two.

What Are Some of the Most Common Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy can manifest in many different ways, depending on its type and severity. However, there are many common symptoms that affect many people with cerebral palsy. The following Cerebral Palsy Foundation statistics highlight the most common symptoms:

  • One in two people with cerebral palsy has chronic pain.
  • One in three people with cerebral palsy can’t walk.
  • One in five people with cerebral palsy can’t talk.
  • One in 10 people with cerebral palsy has severe vision problems.

How Common Are Co-occurring Health Complaints With Cerebral Palsy?

People with cerebral palsy often have co-occurring health conditions. Some of these health conditions have strong links to cerebral palsy while others occur independently. Children with co-occurring conditions may have one or more health complaints along with cerebral palsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists some of the most common conditions co-occurring with cerebral palsy.

  • Approximately four in 10 children with cerebral palsy have epilepsy.
  • Approximately one in 10 children with cerebral palsy have autism spectrum disorder.

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation notes people with cerebral palsy are three to four times more likely to experience depression than people without this condition.

How Effective Are Cerebral Palsy Treatments?

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, some treatment options may reduce the symptoms of cerebral palsy and improve the quality of life of people impacted by it.

A study in The Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics claims single-event multilevel surgery may help children with cerebral palsy suffering from severe mobility issues. Its study assessed the gait of 28 young people with bilateral cerebral palsy twice over a period of around 10 years. Half the test subjects — the ones with the lowest initial scores — had the surgery during the test period. The test found:

  • Average gait deviation index improved from 69 to 77.8 among subjects with the surgery.
  • Average gait deviation index also improved without the surgery, but was much smaller, rising from 81 to 87.7.
  • 45% of the subjects with the surgery increased their gait deviation index by at least 10.8 points.
  • No child who received the surgery decreased their gait deviation index.

An injection of Botox can improve upper limb mobility in children with spastic cerebral palsy, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma. The study examined 28 children with spastic cerebral palsy aged four to 12 years. All the children received a single shot of Botox. The study found:

  • Arm, forearm, and wrist spasticity significantly decreased at three-month assessment.
  • Spasticity scores increased at six-month assessment, indicating shot’s effects were wearing off.
  • Functional outcome scores improved at three- and six-month assessments.

Hippotherapy, a treatment involving horse riding, may also help people with cerebral palsy improve their posture and balance. Studies suggest people with cerebral palsy can strengthen their body by adjusting it according to a horse’s movement. New research published in Clinical Biomechanics found hippotherapy is most effective when riding at a fast pace or in sand.

Children with cerebral palsy are all unique and may respond to different treatment methods. Discuss different treatment options with your child’s physician to determine the right ones for their needs.

Assessing cerebral palsy facts and statistics can help you understand your child’s condition better. When you do, you may realize the early care your child received or the actions of your medical providers may have contributed to your child’s diagnosis. If you feel your child was a victim of medical negligence, the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC can help. Complete our online contact form to discover how we can seek justice for your family.

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