Understanding Hemiplegia and How to Treat It
According to Cleveland Clinic, hemiplegia is a condition where one side of your body becomes paralyzed. In other words, hemiplegia often affects your body’s left or right side. Mostly, hemiplegia occurs due to brain damage or spinal cord injury that eventually causes paralysis on one side of a patient’s body. The condition leads to muscle stiffness, general body weakness, and difficulty controlling muscles.
Are you keen to understand hemiplegia and how to treat it? Read on to discover more about this condition, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What Are the Causes of Hemiplegia?
One of the major causes of hemiplegia is a brain infection that permanently damages your brain’s cortex. Often, these brain infections result from bacterial infection, but in some cases, the infections can also be fungal or viral.
Among children, researchers have established that a highly rare mutation of the ATP1A3 gene can lead to a condition referred to as alternating hemiplegia. This genetic mutation causes temporary hemiplegia symptoms that keep recurring. Fortunately, the condition is extremely rare and is estimated to affect only one in a million people.
Studies have shown that stroke accounts for most cases of hemiparesis. Often, the intensity of muscle fatigue you encounter depends on the location and size of a stroke. Research indicates that strokes in the womb are one of the major causes of hemiplegia among kids.
Different brain cancers, including meningioma, glioma, CNS lymphoma, spinal cord tumors, and astrocytoma, can affect your brain, leading to hemiplegia.
Hemiplegia Symptoms and Signs
Loss of Sensation
Loss of sensation is one of the most common symptoms of hemiplegia on one side of your body. Often, the loss of sensation can be either full or partial loss of sensation. If you suffer partial loss of sensation, you may experience unexpected sensations or even tingling on the affected side.
Seizures and Muscle Spasms
If you’re a patient suffering from hemiplegia, seizures and spastic attacks are common symptoms you’ll likely exhibit. Usually, these seizures and chronic muscle spasms cause severe pain.
Speech and Affiliated Issues
As a hemiplegic patient, you’re likely to have difficulties when trying to communicate, which often manifests as mumbled speech. Moreover, this is mostly accompanied by breathing and swallowing difficulties.
Loss of Motor Functions
Another common symptom associated with hemiplegia is the loss of motor skills which often causes uncoordinated movements and hardship while undertaking daily activities. Consequently, this often causes walking difficulties, which are distinguished by tripping or staggering.
The other characteristic feature of hemiplegia is that your fist on the affected side becomes clenched. Moreover, your brain stem becomes damaged, leading to a condition known as ataxia, associated with loss of gross and fine motor skills.
What Treatments are Available for Hemiplegia?
Different treatment alternatives for hemiplegia often depend on the intensity of the symptoms and the cause of the condition. Some of these treatments include:
Seeking assistance from your physiotherapist if you’re suffering from hemiplegia will help you learn to coordinate movement, develop your balance ability, and build strength. Moreover, your physiotherapist can assist you in stretching out spastic and tight muscles.
The other treatment option for hemiplegia involves using medicines that treat underlying causes and symptoms. For instance, you can use medications to treat upper motor neuron syndrome. Your healthcare provider can administer Librium to assist you in relaxing. Other medications are also used to treat recurrent seizures resulting from brain injury.
Moreover, your clinician can prescribe antibiotics to help treat any brain infections that may lead to hemiplegia. Furthermore, your doctor can administer blood thinners, including warfarin or heparin, to clear any blood clots, preventing possible strokes.
Mostly this treatment alternative primarily focuses on treating secondary issues. These issues include contractures, involuntary muscle contractions, damage to your ligaments or tendons, and spinal injury. For instance, when treating contractures through surgery, your surgeon often operates your ligaments to relieve the tension.
Hemiplegia can also be treated using alternative medicines, including Chinese Medicine (acupuncture) and Unani medicine.
Hemiplegia is an acute one-sided paralysis often resulting from brain damage. You must understand its symptoms, signs, causes, and treatment options to help you or your loved ones receive proper care.