Cerebral Palsy Facts and Statistics
This article has been fact checked by a Board Certified Pediatrician. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
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Cerebral palsy is one of the most common childhood disorders in the United States. The following facts and statistics will help you understand the risk factors of cerebral palsy, as well as its pervasiveness and associated medical conditions.
- Medical costs are around 10 times higher for children with cerebral palsy.
- Medical costs are around 26 times higher for children with cerebral palsy who have an intellectual disability.
- The total lifetime care costs to take care of a child with cerebral palsy currently exceeds $1 million.
Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors
- Premature babies and babies with low birth weight (under 5.5 pounds) are at a heightened risk of developing cerebral palsy.
- Multiple births, including twins and triplets, increase the risk of at least one infant developing cerebral palsy.
- Maternal infections increase the risk of cerebral palsy, as infections can increase cytokines, which can lead to inflammation and cause brain damage.
- Women who go through certain types of infertility treatments have a greater chance of having an infant with cerebral palsy.
- Severe cases of jaundice can lead to brain damage, which in turn can cause cerebral palsy.
- Birth complications, including uterine rupture and placenta problems can heighten the risk of cerebral palsy.
- Medical negligence can cause cerebral palsy, such as physicians failing to order an emergency C-section and/or improper use of birth-assisting tools.
Statistics of People With Cerebral Palsy in the United States
- Around 764,000 people in the U.S. (including children and adults) have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy.
- Around 10,000 babies are born each year with cerebral palsy.
- Between 1,200 t0 1,500 school-aged children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year.
- Boys are diagnosed more often with cerebral palsy than girls.
- Cerebral palsy is the most commonly diagnosed childhood motor disability in the U.S.
- The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) reports that 1 in 323 children have some form of cerebral palsy.
- Over 77% of children with cerebral palsy have the spastic form.
- More than 50% of all children with cerebral palsy can walk independently.
- Black children with cerebral palsy are 1.7 times more likely to need assistance with walking or be unable to walk at all, according to the ADDM’s 2006 data report.
- Around 41% of babies and children with cerebral palsy will have limited abilities in crawling, walking, and running.
Additional Disabilities Associated With Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral palsy may come numerous other medical conditions, known as secondary conditions, associated conditions, or co-mitigating factors.
- Behavioral problems are common in children with cerebral palsy, including social skill problems, anger issues, and behavior issues in school.
- Some children with cerebral may experience cognitive impairments, which may include low attention span, poor concentration skills, problem-solving deficiencies, and learning and language issues. Around 41% of children with cerebral palsy in the United States have some form of a cognitive disorder.
- Digestive health issues may be a problem for some children with cerebral palsy. This typically occurs when children have difficulties with face muscle control, leading to problems with eating, chewing, and swallowing.
- Pain is often associated with cerebral palsy, including orthopedic pain, gastrointestinal pain, and rehabilitative pain (associated with physical therapy exercises).
- Vision and hearing issues may accompany cerebral palsy but generally depends on how severe the disorder is.
- Children with cerebral palsy are at a heightened risk for skin problems and disorders, including allergic reactions, minor skin issues, and involuntary skin scratching.
- Seizures are a common associated disorder of cerebral palsy and can range from mild to extremely severe. In fact, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that around 41% of all children with cerebral palsy have co-occurring epilepsy.
- Some children with cerebral palsy suffer from dysphagia, a severe oral motor dysfunction that requires regular monitoring.
- Autism associated with cerebral palsy in the United States is relatively low, affecting around only 1% of all children with cerebral palsy.
- Around 60% of 8-year-old children with cerebral palsy will have some form a developmental disability.
- Orthopedic issues cause numerous problems for children with cerebral palsy, including poor balance, poor muscle tone, poor posture, and poor reflexes.