The Most Common Causes of Paralysis
When your muscles lose the ability to function in a region of your body, this is known as paralysis. Paralysis takes place when the connection between the brain and your muscles is damaged. The human body can suffer from either complete paralysis or partial paralysis and can experience paralysis on one or both sides of the body. It can be present in just one region of the body or it can be widespread.
What Causes Paralysis?
Paralysis can be temporary or it can be permanent and there are a number of ways that a person can be paralyzed. Babies in the womb may not develop properly and be born paralyzed or a healthy baby can be injured during birth and sustain paralysis. For others, injuries or illness can lead to the condition.
- Birth Defects–The process of life is a delicate one and any number of factors can go awry causing a person to develop abnormally. Abnormalities can either be inherited or by other environmental factors. Cerebral palsy is a birth defect present in newborns that makes up approximately 7% of all paralysis cases. Spina bifida occurs in the womb when the neural tube does not close around the spinal cord. This birth defect can be mild or severe, and in more severe cases causes paralysis.
- Illness–Illness in life such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the brain that can lead to paralysis. MS is the third leading cause of the condition. Guillain-Barre Syndrome happens when your immune system goes after your nerves. This results in muscle weakness and tingling and can lead to paralysis.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI) —SCI accounts for 27.3% of all paralysis cases put it at number two for the most common reason responsible for paralysis. You can sustain partial or complete damage to the spinal cord. In cases where there is partial damage, the ability to move is possible but for those that have, total damage of the spinal cord movement is not possible. The region of the body which loses movement is right below the part of the spine where the damage took place. When the damage on the spinal cord is higher up increase the risk that both the upper and lower body are impacted by paralysis. Car accidents, slip, and fall accidents, physical labor, shootings, abuse, or sports can cause spinal cord injuries.
- Brain Damage–The leading cause for paralysis is stroke, making up 33.7% of all paralysis cases. The majority of stroke survivors will sustain some level of temporary paralysis. Interventions such as physical therapy can help these individuals recover their ability to move again. Other individuals who survive their stroke may suffer from permanent paralysis to one side of their body. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur when there is significant trauma to the brain and can lead to paralysis. Any force or impact to the skull can lead to TBI which means that car accidents, sports, slip and falls or abuse can all cause the condition.
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