How Cerebral Palsy Affects Nutritional Needs
Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that affects a child’s mobility, muscle tone, and balance. It is linked to injury to the brain that occurs during, before, or immediately after being born. The repercussions of cerebral palsy usually affects many aspects of a child’s life, including their diet. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy can make it more difficult for a child to get the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Here’s what you need to know:
Cerebral palsy can affect the ability to eat
Having cerebral palsy can impact motor skills, which can make it a challenge to hold utensils or feed oneself. It can even make it difficult to chew or swallow food safely without choking. As a result, children who have cerebral palsy may be unable or reluctant to eat, and they may have difficulty learning to feed themselves without supervision. This can lead to lifelong problems with nutrition.
Cerebral palsy can cause gastrointestinal problems
Studies have shown that children who have cerebral palsy are more likely to develop gastrointestinal issues, including chronic stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation, and pain in the abdomen. This, in turn, can lead to difficulty keeping food down. Children who have these problems may find it hard to eat the kinds of foods they need in order to lead a healthy life, and they may experience related problems with weight gain. Often children who have cerebral palsy may need a G-tube which feeds supplemental nutrition directly into the stomach so that the child gets enough nutrients to grow.
Children with cerebral palsy need the right nutrients
Parents of children with cerebral palsy need to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrients in order to ensure that their bones stay strong and healthy. This means that they need to be getting plenty of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus. If you are concerned that your child is not gaining weight normally and/or not getting all of the appropriate nutrients, talk to your doctor right away.
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