medical IDs for cerebral palsy

Medical IDs for Cerebral Palsy

The confidence to live with cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of neurologic (brain-based) disorders that affect muscle tone and movement. It is the most commonly diagnosed motor disability diagnosed in childhood, with 764,000 people in the U.S. experiencing at least 1 symptom. Each year, around 10,000 babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy can also impact intellectual development, vision, hearing, and cause seizures, among other problems. Each person is affected differently. Because cerebral palsy is a chronic condition and can lead to other medical problems, learning how to manage it and being prepared for medical emergencies is important.

Anyone living with this chronic medical condition can benefit from wearing a medical ID for cerebral palsy such as one of the options available through MedicAlert.

How MedicAlert protects those living with cerebral palsy

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with cerebral palsy, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

Patient Instructions

Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.

Pair a medical ID for cerebral palsy with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is primarily defined as a disorder that affects muscle tone and movement, but because it is based in the brain, it can affect functioning in other ways as well. It is not a progressive condition, meaning the brain issues do not worsen over time. It is also not a curable condition. About 41% of babies and children with cerebral palsy will have mobility problems due to the condition. In addition, they can have cognitive impairments, behavioral issues, digestive health problems, hearing and vision loss, seizures, trouble swallowing, skin issues, and chronic pain. Children with cerebral palsy are usually diagnosed in infancy or early childhood when these problems (especially muscle tone and posture concerns) become more obvious during growth and development.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by several different problems that can happen and affect a developing brain. Most of the time, this is something that occurs before birth– between 85-90% of cases are congenital (related to development in the womb).

For parents, the cause of cerebral palsy is most often not foreseeable or preventable. In fact, sometimes the cause is not known even after diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic notes these possible causes:

  • Maternal infections- including cytomegalovirus (CMV), rubella, herpes, syphilis, and toxoplasmosis
  • Infant infections- including bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis
  • Genetic mutations
  • Fetal stroke
  • Severe or untreated jaundice at birth
  • Brain bleeding before birth or as a newborn
  • Infant head trauma
  • Lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and delivery
  • Exposure in the womb to toxins, including alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Pregnancies involving multiple babies

Less commonly, the damage that causes cerebral palsy happens in early infancy or rarely, childhood. This is usually due to head trauma from an injury.

What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical ID for cerebral palsy:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. Engravings on medical IDs for cerebral palsy should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in an accident or medical emergency, for example:

  • Medical history, including cerebral palsy diagnosis and any problems like seizures and hearing or vision impairment
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Any other information you want first responders to have quick access to
medical IDs for cerebral palsy

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for cerebral palsy.

What are the symptoms and complications of cerebral palsy?

Because cerebral palsy can affect several body systems, there are many symptoms that are a part of the diagnosis. However, the main symptoms are related to muscle control.

Muscle and mobility symptoms can include:

  • High or low muscle tone (too stiff or too floppy)
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Weakness on one side of the body and a preference for using the opposite side
  • Jerky movements or tremors that can’t be controlled
  • Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes, called spasticity
  • Stiff muscles and normal reflexes, called rigidity
  • Improper gait and other problems walking
  • Trouble with fine motor skills like writing
  • Problems with chewing, eating, and swallowing

Developmental symptoms can include:

  • Bein slow to reach motor milestones (sitting, rolling over, crawling, walking)
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Slow growth and small size
  • Speech delays

Neurologic symptoms can include:

  • Bladder problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Seizures
  • Hearing issues
  • Vision problems and abnormal eye movements
  • Mental health conditions
  • Sensory problems, like abnormal pain and touch sensations

Along with these symptoms come several possible complications, some of which can lead to medical emergencies:

  • Contractures – where muscles become permanently “frozen” and bones and joints are deformed and even dislocated
  • Heart disease, lung disease, and breathing problems including aspiration pneumonia due to swallowing issues
  • Malnutrition due to eating and swallowing problems
  • Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
  • Mental health concerns
  • Skin breakdown
  • Infections

Wearing a medical ID for cerebral palsy and enrolling in membership in a Protection Plan means that during a medical emergency related to cerebral palsy and any of these complications, first responders will know how to best treat you or your loved one.

Understanding any medical history, medications, and treatments related to a person’s cerebral palsy is important in any situation where every second counts. And for parents who may not always be able to be with their child, this means MedicAlert is their voice in an emergency. For example, a MedicAlert ID can notify first responders of seizure history, any hearing and vision impairment, and other ongoing medical problems.

How do you diagnose cerebral palsy?

Diagnosing cerebral palsy involves a combination of tests, examinations, and observations. At birth, all newborns are screened for any immediate signs of health problems. A doctor examines the baby at 1, 5, and 10 minutes from birth and performs a check called the APGAR test, which looks at the baby’s breathing, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and skin color.

If any of these newborn assessments are abnormal, a specialist can do further testing. Often, there are not any signs at birth of a problem, but as a baby grows and has regular exams, there may be clues that developmental milestones are not being met. Most children are diagnosed by age 3.

Along with physical exams, specialists may order these tests:

  • MRIs – to look for signs of damage to areas of the brain
  • CT scans – these can also help identify damage in the brain
  • X Rays and EOS imaging – both of these can help show doctors what kinds of joint or growth problems may be happening because of abnormal muscle control
  • Genetic testing – it’s important to rule out any other heredity conditions like muscular dystrophy that can share symptoms with cerebral palsy

How do you treat, manage, and live with cerebral palsy?

The primary treatment for cerebral palsy is therapy. Some complications can be avoided by starting services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as early as possible. These therapies can help children improve mobility, functioning, speech, and eating.

Medications can also play a role in managing cerebral palsy. Some medications can help with muscle problems, and others are used to treat pain, seizures, and other complications of cerebral palsy.

In some cases, surgery can be recommended to help with mobility problems and spine issues.

Each person with cerebral palsy will have different needs when it comes to treatment because cerebral palsy affects everyone differently. Some people have mild symptoms and others have more severe symptoms.

This is why always wearing a medical ID like a MedicAlert bracelet can help first responders know what needs an individual has in a medical emergency. For example, if a person has seizures, knowing what rescue medications are effective and what medications they take to treat seizures is important.

How medical IDs for cerebral palsy combined with MedicAlert  Membership provide peace of mind

Ordering a MedicAlert ID that is customized for your tastes and any needs related to cerebral palsy is easy by visiting the MedicAlert online store. You’ll find multiple options to choose from, including bracelets, necklaces, shoe tags, and other accessory styles that can be added to everyday items.

No matter which style you choose, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected in any medical emergency with a high-quality, easily recognizable medical ID.

Although cerebral palsy can present challenges for everyday living, therapies and treatments can help overcome barriers and allow a full and active life. And with the addition of a MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan, you’ll know you have an extra layer of support and protection in any medical emergency that arises.

  • We’re your voice:  If you can’t speak for yourself due to a medical emergency, your ID will speak for you – informing others about your cerebral palsy and any medications you’re taking.
  • 24/7 emergency protection:  In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.
  • Always connected:  You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.
  • Live with peace of mind and confidence:  MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with cerebral palsy, knowing we’ve got you covered.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.