Paralysis : Causes , symptoms , treatment and how can we cope with it ?

John kennedy is a hard working guy, has a well renowned running business and spends his work period entirely on a chair writing and collecting data’s of code from various industries. He has spent his half life working in that chair in front of a laptop. He also has an active life. He regularly goes out for a jogging , meets a lot of people and discuss various ideas on how they can furnish their business country wide. Every one loves his hard work and cheers how in short period he has achieved much more what people takes lots of years to do. But in the mean time something happens. One day when he woke up , something wasn’t right with him. He couldn’t lift his left hand properly. He thought it as minor problem and took recommendation from doctors for some medicine. But the condition worsen. Now , he couldn’t move his entire left portion of body. He is half paralyzed.

Paralysis is the loss or impairment of voluntary muscular power. Paralysis can result from either diseases involving changes in the makeup of nervous or muscular tissue or those that are the result of metabolic disturbances that interfere with the function of nerves or muscles.

Depending upon the cause, paralysis may affect a specific muscle group or region of the body, or a larger area may be involved.

a) When only one side of the body is affected, the condition is known as hemiplegia.

b) In other instances, both sides of the body may suffer the effects, leading to diplegia or bilateral hemiplegia.

c)When only the lower limbs are affected by paralysis, it is called paraplegia.

d) When all four limbs are affected, it is referred to as quadriplegia. The term palsy is sometimes used to refer to the loss of muscle power in a body part.

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There are many types and degrees of paralysis. The condition can be:

a) Partial, when you still have some control of your muscles (sometimes called paresis).

b) Complete, when you can’t move your muscles at all.

c) Permanent, when muscle control never comes back.

d) Temporary, when some or all muscle control returns.

e) Flaccid, when the muscles get flabby and shrink.

f) Spastic, when the muscles are tight and hard and jerk around oddly (spasm).

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So, how common is paralysis?

A study called the Paralysis Population Survey, which was started by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and conducted by the University of New Mexico’s Center for Development and Disability, found that nearly 1 in 50 Americans is living with some form of paralysis — about 6 million people.

What causes paralysis?

Muscle movement is controlled by trigger signals relayed from the brain. When any part of the relay system — such as the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or junction between the nerve and the muscle — is damaged, the signals to move do not make it through to the muscles and paralysis results. There are many ways the relay system can be damaged.

A person can be born with paralysis due to a birth defect such as spina bifida, which occurs when the brain, spinal cord, and/or the covering that protects them do not form the right way. In most cases, people get paralysis as the result of an accident or a medical condition that affects the way muscles and nerves function. The most common causes of paralysis include:

a) Stroke

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b) Spinal cord injury

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c) Head injury

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d) Multiple sclerosis

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Some other causes include:

a) Cerebral palsy:

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking.

b)Guillain-Barré syndrome :

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Guillain-Barré (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves.

c) Peripheral neuropathy :

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Peripheral neuropathy refers to the conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to the rest of the body are damaged or diseased .

d) Toxins/poisons

e) ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) :

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.

What other symptoms might occur with paralysis symptoms?

Paralysis may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Paralysis symptoms may accompany other symptoms affecting the nervous system including:

a) Changes in mood, personality or behavior

b) Clumsiness

c) Confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment

d) Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading

e) Drooling

f) Numbness

Paralysis symptoms may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

a) Constipation

b) Diarrhea

c) Fever

d) Hearing loss

e) Loss of vision or changes in vision

f) Nausea with or without vomiting

g) Neck pain

h) Rash

I) Severe headache

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Sudden paralysis could indicate an emergency medical condition such as stroke, when the blood supply that carries oxygen to the brain is temporarily blocked. Spinal cord injury is another serious cause of paralysis.

Certain symptoms include :

a)Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

b) Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions

c) Changes in mood, personality or behavior

d) Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, reading or writing, or loss of muscle coordination

e) Numbness

f) Respiratory or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking

g) Severe headache

So, How can you treat paralysis ?

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Currently, there is no cure for paralysis itself. In certain cases, some or all muscle control and feeling returns on its own or after treatment of the cause for the paralysis. For example, spontaneous recovery often occurs in cases of Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of the face. It might also occur to some extent with treatment after a stroke. Sometimes, treatment is important to prevent further worsening of paralysis, for example in multiple sclerosis.

Rehabilitation is often recommended to address problems that can occur as a consequence of the paralysis, to enable the paralyzed person to live as independently as possible and to provide the person with a high quality of life. Some of the rehabilitation treatments used for people with paralysis include:

a) Physical therapy uses treatments such as heat, massage, and exercise to stimulate nerves and muscles.

b) Occupational therapy concentrates on ways to perform activities of daily living.

c) Mobility aids include manual and electric wheelchairs and scooters.

d) Supportive devices include braces, canes, and walkers.

e) Assistive technology such as voice-activated computers, lighting systems, and telephones.

f) Adaptive equipment such as special eating utensils and controls for driving a car.

The major thing to practise in a sudden paralysis attack is not to loose hope. It threatens the lifestyle of people who have an independent life style. Supporting to those who have this severety and motivating them to have an active life style is best way to cope with this disease. Keep this in mind that paralysis is not fight with single hand but with team of people who challenges it . Good luck !!

References

a) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15345-paralysis/management-and-treatment

b) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15345-paralysis

c)https://www.medicinenet.com/paralysis/symptoms.htm

d) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/paralysis/

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