Cerebral palsy, often caused by medical malpractice at birth, affects the brain and the nervous system of newborns. The condition lasts a lifetime. It often requires extensive physical and emotional therapy. Cerebral palsy is not considered a degenerative disease—meaning that the condition itself generally does not worsen with aging. Having said that, though, as many adults with cerebral palsy age, they do find it more difficult to deal with the disorder. Fortunately, medical advances have made dealing with cerebral palsy more manageable as time goes on.
Common advanced cerebral palsy symptoms
Some of the known complications for older cerebral patients are:
- Increased levels of pain. Many older patients begin to suffer early-onset arthritis, a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Pain in the neck, back, knee, and hip are also common as patients age.
- Problems with mobility. About one-quarter of patients with cerebral palsy find it more difficult to walk as they age. They may need to use wheelchairs and scooters to help them get around.
- Slips and falls. Because older cerebral palsy patients have difficulty walking, they are more prone to slip and fall. Falls can cause broken bones, bruises, cuts, and muscle damage.
- Dental difficulties. Older cerebral patients may problems with their teeth and gums as they age. Their difficulty with mobility makes it hard to get to a dental office and many dentists may not have experience working with cerebral palsy patients.
- Problems eating. Impaired motor difficulties make it hard for cerebral patients to get the nutrition they need because it’s harder to swallow and chew.
Older cerebral patients can also fail to get regular checkups, mammograms, prostate exams, and pap smears – which exposes them to serious health risks including cancer and death.
If you are caring for an older adult with cerebral palsy, please stay informed about his or her health needs and consult doctors frequently. There are many specialists, social services groups, and support groups in the greater Washington D.C. and West Virginia areas.
For more than 40 years, Barry J. Nace has worked to protect the rights of victims of medical malpractice and other personal injuries. Throughout his career, he has proven that multimillion-dollar awards are not a matter of luck, but the result of experience, hard work, outstanding trial skills, and an unquestioned dedication to justice. To date, Mr. Nace has produced dozens of verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million with three in excess of $30 million. Read more about Barry J. Nace.