- Almost 800,000 persons, including adults and children, suffer from cerebral palsy in this country, according to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation
- Two-thirds of persons with cerebral palsy will suffer some degree of mental retardation
- The average lifetime cost of treating someone with cerebral palsy is a little less than one million dollars, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show
- Premature aging occurs in most cerebral palsy patients by their forties
- Depression occurs three to four times more often in persons with cerebral palsy as they age
- Most adults with cerebral palsy experience a combination of pain, weakness and fatigue
- 25 to 39 percent of adults with this disorder have problems seeing
- Eight to eighteen percent of adults have problems hearing
- The disorder is the most common disability among children in the U.S
- Cerebral palsy affects between two and six infants born out of every 1,000.
Cerebral Palsy Statistics in Babies
The great majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with or have what is called congenital cerebral palsy, yet parents and doctors may not be aware of the disorder right away. It can take up to three years for the condition to become evident. The relatively few children who are affected after birth are said to have acquired cerebral palsy.
- Approximately 10,000 infants will be born annually with or be diagnosed with the condition by the age of three. Most children are born with the disorder. However a small number develop cerebral palsy after they are born as a result of injury to the brain from accidents such as car crashes, falls, or abuse.
- Ten percent or fewer babies are born with cerebral palsy as result of complications during labor and delivery.
- Approximately one-half of children with this disorder have seizures, ranging from severe to very mild.
During the last 30 years, the percentage of babies who develop the disorder has remained the same. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, advanced neonatal care has boosted the survival of low birth weight babies. However, because of the increased survival of more at-risk infants, many have had damage to their brains or nervous systems, thus causing cerebral palsy in some.
Researchers have determined there are four kinds of brain damage that cause congenital cerebral palsy to occur in the developing fetus.
- One of these is injury to the white matter of the brain, the area that controls the transmission of signals both in the brain and to the body. Infection in the mother or the fetus, especially between 26 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, can lead to this type of problem.
- Abnormal development of the brain, often caused by conditions such as infection, fever or trauma that lead to genetic mutations. The fetus' developing brain is especially sensitive to genetic mutations occurring during the first 20 weeks of development.
- Bleeding or hemorrhage in the fetal brain. Blocked or broken blood vessels caused by a stroke in the fetus can result from hypertension in the mother. Pelvic inflammatory disease or other types of maternal infection are known to lead to fetal stroke.
- Lack of adequate oxygen can cause brain damage in the newborn during labor and delivery. A prolonged period of oxygen deprivation in the baby's brain can damage the area that controls movement. Problems with the umbilical cord, maternal low blood pressure, uterine rupture, or a detached placenta can also cause this type of damage.