Cerebral Palsy Prevalence & Population

It is estimated by the United Cerebral Palsy Association that more than 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy. The four main categories of Cerebral Palsy are: Spastic, Athetoid, Ataxic, and Mixed.

Spastic cerebral palsy affects 70-80% of children and adults in the United States with stiff or permanently contracted muscles.

Video of doctor explaining spastic cerebral palsy.

Athetoid cerebral palsy affects 10-20% of children and adults in the United States with involuntary, slow, twitching movements.

Video of doctor explaining athetoid cerebral palsy.

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a rare form of CP that affects 5-10% of children and adults in the United States by distorting the sense of depth and perception and causing poor coordination and difficulty with precise movements.

Video of doctor explaining ataxic cerebral palsy.

Mixed cerebral palsy is the result of children and adults having two or more symptoms of the other forms of cerebral palsy. The most common mixed form of cerebral palsy is a blend of the spastic and athetoid forms, but many combinations are possible.

In the United States, 10-20% of the children who have cerebral palsy obtain the disorder after birth. Most of the children with the disorder develop the cerebral palsy during prenatal development or childbirth. During the prenatal stages or childbirth, cerebral palsy can be prevented. Cerebral palsy can also result from brain damage in the first few months or years of life due to brain infection from meningitis or viral encephalitis, and head injuries from a fall, a motor vehicle accident, or child abuse. Congenital cerebral palsy is present at birth and can be caused by infections during pregnancy, Rh incompatibility, jaundice, and severe depletion of oxygen in the brain, stroke, and trauma to the head during labor and delivery.


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