Spastic Quadriplegia

What Is Spastic Quadriplegia?

When a person has a severe type of cerebral palsy it is called spastic quadriplegia. Cerebral palsy is a disease that affects the area of the brain that controls muscles and muscle functions. Out of all the different types of cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia is the worst and people who suffer with this illness have little or no control over their own bodies. They have limbs that appear to be cramped and unmovable and they also have little to no control over the movement of their head.

It is difficult to assess the IQ level of a person suffering with this illness. They have problems with speech and communication, so it is never exactly clear just how affected they are. Most people who suffer with this condition also have mild to extreme mental retardation.

It is thought that spastic quadriplegia happens "in utero". The brain of the fetus does not form correctly and there are many reasons why this can happen. It can be from a toxin introduced into the mother's bloodstream or an infection like, pelvic inflammatory disease. An expectant mother with high blood pressure can also do great harm to the fetus and the unborn baby can have a stroke within the womb causing brain damage. The fetus can also be affect by deformities in the blood flow and blood vessels causing fetal strokes and blood clots in the placenta can also cause these types of strokes.

Up until the thirty fourth week of pregnancy a baby’s brain is the most fragile. This is usually when cerebral palsy is most likely to affect the brain. If the babies white brain matter is damaged during this time, lesions and small holes appear on the tissue. Since the brain is not fully developed, the entire body may be affected.

A Lack of oxygen at anytime during pregnancy can cause spastic quadriplegia. Problems with the umbilical cord, placenta or a rupture to the womb can affect the flow of oxygen to the fetus and so does extremely low blood pressure in the mother. It was originally thought that oxygen deficiency was the main reason for cerebral palsy but we know now there are many reasons why this can occur.

Most people with spastic quadriplegia need a good deal of assistance to do even minor things. Eating is difficult for a few reasons. People with this condition have problems with swallowing. So they have to be constantly watched so that they do not inhale any food particles. If food is inhaled into the lungs, the person affected can also have respiratory problems. The food that they do eat has to have an overabundance of nutritional value. Because it is so hard for these people to eat, every bite they get has to be beneficial so that they can get enough vitamins to be healthy.

Scoliosis is another medical issue that can affect a person with spastic quadriplegia. The spastic movements of the muscles can put a strain on the bones and the spine can be affected causing back deformities. So along with the spasms and spastic movements the sufferer can also have a curved, painful spine.

There is no cure for spastic quadriplegia. But there are many treatments to ease the pain and gain at least, a bit of mobility. Physical therapy can help with the strengthening of muscles that are tight and cramped. Medications can help lessen pain and stop any seizures associated with cerebral palsy and massage therapy can help ease the pain to the muscles and keep the blood flowing in the limbs. These are just of few things that can help with people suffering with this condition.