3 Factors That Affect Cerebral Palsy Lifespan

By  //  April 22, 2021

When a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, one of the main things parents are concerned about is the child’s lifespan. There are several factors that affect the lifespan of a child with this condition, including how well the child is cared for and the medical knowledge parents receive. 

Here are three major factors that can affect the lifespan of someone with cerebral palsy.

Number of Disabilities and Impairments 

The more impairments a child has, the more cerebral palsy will affect their quality of life and life expectancy. A child who has several impairments will likely need a team of caretakers who will work around the clock to keep the child safe and healthy. An individual with cerebral palsy may need this type of care throughout life.

In addition to difficulty moving, walking, or speaking, some children with cerebral palsy may also suffer from intellectual disabilities and seizures. This can impact life expectancy as well, especially if the child can’t always receive consistent care.

Severity of Disabilities 

Not only will the number of impairments affect the lifespan of someone with cerebral palsy, but the intensity of their disabilities can also determine life expectancy. If a child is severely disabled and has suffered major brain damage, this may mean that the child will not live into adulthood. Extremely severe cases can result in newborn and infant deaths.

Children who are quadriplegics tend to have a low life expectancy, and babies born with jaundice could face the risk of death as well. Studies are currently being conducted to determine whether brain damage is the cause of low birth weight and premature birth, or whether premature birth and low birth weight lead to brain damage.

Children who experience cerebral palsy impairments that cause them to remain in a vegetative state are also more prone to organ failure and respiratory infections, which can significantly shorten their lifespans.

Limitations in Mobility 

A child’s lifespan can also be estimated by how limited they are in terms of mobility. When a child can not move from place to place independently due to lack of function in the arms and legs, the child is dependent on healthcare workers, family, siblings, or other loved ones for daily care. Some children could eventually become completely paralyzed, which can shorten their lifespan and reduce their overall quality of life.

Cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, which means it doesn’t worsen over time. This also means that injury to the brain as a result of cerebral palsy doesn’t go away. However, some children can experience an improvement in mobility over time with proper and consistent treatment.

It is also common for people with a physical impairment due to cerebral palsy to age prematurely. Lack of physical exercise makes the body weaker and slows the function of the brain and immune system.

Some children who have cerebral palsy use more energy than many children their age in an attempt to complete simple tasks like rolling over, crawling, or scooting. Some children exert too much energy when trying to propel their wheelchairs. This can take a toll on the internal organs, including the heart, which is another reason for premature aging.

If your child has cerebral palsy, you should get a lawyer on your side as soon as possible. You should be eligible for compensation if you can prove that the medical staff or hospital is at fault for your child’s disability. Life-altering cerebral palsy can result in a higher amount of compensation. While the money won’t eliminate your pain and suffering, it can make it easier for you to provide your child with quality care throughout their lifetime.

About the Author

Katherine Webre is a passionate writer with years of experience in legal. She has dedicated her career to represent the most vulnerable among us, children who have suffered severe injustice. Beyond legal action, Katherine also takes up the pen to raise awareness and inform audiences about birth injuries. By sharing her expertise, she hopes to empower people to act against any prejudice and works as a collaborative editor for Birth Injury Lawyer.