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How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?

Diagnosing cerebral palsy involves evaluating symptoms, conducting brain imaging tests like MRI and EEG, and assessing motor skills. Early diagnosis is essential for prompt intervention. Health insurance provides financial support for managing cerebral palsy.

  • 12 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Do you know incidences of cerebral palsy are found among at least three babies out of every 1000 births in India? It is a group of neurological disorders that adversely influence motor skills. People struggle to maintain balance and posture and to do precise activities like buttoning a shirt, writing, etc. CP is among the most common motor skills disability for children globally.

Early cerebral palsy diagnosis among infants helps with in-time medical intervention and attain improved cognitive and motor gains. We will explore methods to diagnose CP in the following section. Also, it is wise to take health insurance to protect against financial shocks from such diseases.

Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

  • Healthcare professionals evaluate symptoms of cerebral palsy, review medical history, conduct physical examination, and observe the child's growth and development during appointments. Usually, symptoms of CP become more noticeable with time and are not evident until a couple of months to a year after the child's birth.
  • Symptoms might be further delayed in children with mild cerebral palsy. Specialists in treating CP include Paediatric Neurologists, Paediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialists, and Child Development Specialists. Let us go through prominent cerebral palsy diagnosis methods.
  • Brain Imaging Tests: Medical professionals conduct MRI, Cranial Ultrasound and other tests to observe and diagnose areas of damage or irregular development in the brain.
  • EEG (Electroencephalogram): Doctors conduct an EEG if a child experiences an episode of seizures. Seizures could be due to epilepsy, and cerebral palsy diagnosis is crucial to understand this to begin treatment to improve the condition and reduce the seizures.
  • Study says around 30% to 40% of children with cerebral palsy experience epilepsy. Therefore, EEG helps to diagnose and begin treatments to reduce seizure episodes in children. For the EEG procedure, a series of electrodes are connected to a child's scalp to study the electrical activities in the child's brain. If it's an irregular or altered wave pattern, it is epilepsy.
  • Diagnosis also includes lab tests for blood, skin and urine to check metabolic or genetic conditions. Additional tests for cerebral palsy diagnosis are to assess other conditions; Medical experts look at vision, hearing, motor skills, postures, movement, intellect, speech and more.
  • Motor skills are a core determiner of cerebral palsy. Diagnosis is essential to determine different movement conditions in a child for suitable preventive or improvement measures. Some of the most common movement conditions are Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Ataxic Cerebral Palsy, and Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy.
  • After a cerebral palsy diagnosis, doctors use a rating scale tool like the Gross Motor Function Classification System. Medical professionals utilise this scaling tool to assess mobility, posture, function, and balance. Based on diagnosis and analysis, doctors initiate treatment for cerebral palsy.

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According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, cerebral palsy has no cure. Medical professionals apply various treatment methods to improve CP conditions, like communication and motor skills, and help children be as active as possible. The key is to recognise symptoms, diagnose in time and begin supportive treatments for cerebral palsy as soon as possible. 

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