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What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Cerebral Palsy?

The Prognosis of Cerebral Palsy

When you learn that your baby has suffered a birth injury that caused cerebral palsy, it goes without saying that you'll have lots of questions regarding your child's future. One of the most common questions parents ask is, "Will my child be able to live a long and healthy life?" The answer depends on many factors, but one way to avoid further complications is to manage secondary conditions often associated with cerebral palsy.

Here's what you need to know.

Factors That Can Impact Life span

While it's nearly impossible to predict how cerebral palsy will affect a child's life span, certain factors can impact the severity of their impairments. Making assessments and determinations is not a one-time occurrence. Your child's doctor will need to continue to monitor your child as his or her brain develops so they can factor in developmental milestones that they could be missing. Read on to learn more about the factors that can have an impact on life expectancy:

The Number of Impairments

The more secondary conditions and impairments a child has, the more health challenges they will face. A child with multiple conditions related to cerebral palsy will need proper medical treatment and management of the impairments. The life span of someone with cerebral palsy depends on the management and care of their disabilities and impairments.

Fortunately, there are many therapies, treatments, and advanced technologies used to mitigate the effects of impairments. Many people living with cerebral palsy can live until late adulthood. However, the more severe the complications and health conditions, the more likely someone could face a shorter life span.

The Degree of Impairment

Severe impairments can reduce a child's life expectancy with cerebral palsy compared to other children who have mild to moderate impairments. In the most severe cases of cerebral palsy, the more likely the result could be premature death. Top risks of premature death for someone with cerebral palsy may include:

  • Severe spasticity
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriparesis
  • Jaundice

Proper health management, medicines, medical technologies, and preventative measures can positively impact the life span of a child with cerebral palsy.

Mobility Issues

The ability to move is an essential factor in the life span of a child with cerebral palsy. Mobility problems can lead to dependence on caregivers, and these restrictions can result in health problems that can affect the quality of life and their life span. Children with severe impairments, such as quadriplegia and paralysis of the limbs and torso, may be at risk of having a shorter life span. For example, spasticity forces limbs to extend and flex consistently, affecting the spine and hips' alignment that can further impair movement. Pressure sores can also be a problem when restricted to laying in a bed or sitting positions for long periods.

Lack of mobility can also have an impact on premature aging. Lack of exercise and activity often leads to a compromised immune system and a decrease in cognitive function.

Feeding Difficulties

Difficulty eating can be a catalyst for malnutrition or muscle deterioration. If a child relies on feeding tubes, they can have irritation that can lead to infections. It's critical for parents to work with a dietitian and closely monitor their child's nutrition intake to maintain a healthy diet. Therapy to control muscles of the tongue, lips, and bit can also be helpful when it comes to managing feeding difficulties.

The Occurrence of Seizures

Compared to children without seizures, the occurrence of seizures can play a role in a child's life expectancy with cerebral palsy. Seizures can affect the following:

  • Consciousness
  • Emotions
  • Sensation
  • Vision
  • Muscle control

When seizures are repetitive and prolonged, it could lead to an injury or lack of oxygen. Fortunately, seizures may be managed by medication. Since there are several types of seizures, your child will need examinations and testing to determine the correct medication and dosage required to manage the condition. It's also essential for doctors to take into consideration any side-effects relating to the prescribed medicine.

Respiratory Function

Respiratory issues can be a contributing factor in diminishing the life span of a child with cerebral palsy. When there is respiratory distress, it can lead to the following complications:

  • Aspiration (when something swallowed goes down into the airway)
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure

Difficulties with swallowing and feeding can cause inhalation of food particles and lead to lung infections or pneumonia. When it comes to respiratory health for someone with cerebral palsy, it's critical to keep a close eye on oral motor dysfunctions, as they can be life-threatening.

Has Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury? We Can Help.

Learning your baby has a birth injury is devastating news, especially knowing that it was preventable. When doctors and other medical professionals act negligently and cause harm, we are here to help you seek justice. Caring for a child with a birth injury that requires long-term care can be a stressful situation. Know that you are not alone. We are here to help you get through this difficult time.

At Bandas Law Firm, P.C., we understand that a child who has suffered a birth injury can pose both emotional and financial strains on parents. Let us help you recover compensation so you can have the means to support your child's medical needs and future care.

Contact us today at (505) 393-6303 to learn how we can assist you.