Types of Paralysis
Here are a few paralysis types that you should know about -
1. Complete Paralysis:
It is a type of paralysis where the patient is unable to move or manage the paralysed muscles. Besides, the sensation in the muscle or the area is lost completely.
2. Partial or Incomplete Paralysis:
Here, the patient still has some sensation or control over the paralysed muscles. It is also known as paresis.
3. Localised Paralysis:
In this paralysis type, only a specific area of the body, such as the face, hands, feet, or vocal cords, is paralysed.
4. Generalised Paralysis:
Generalised paralysis spreads across the body and is usually grouped by how many body areas it affects. It is associated with injuries caused to the brain or spinal cord. A few sub-types of generalised paralysis are as follows:
- Monoplegia - It paralyses just a single limb, and the person loses control over it completely.
- Diplegia - It affects both sides of the body equally. For instance, the person can lose control of both arms, legs, or both sides of the face (paralysis of the face).
- Hemiplegia - Caused due to strokes or damages to the brain, hemiplegia is where the person loses control of one side of the body.
- Paraplegia - It is a paralysis type where the person loses control of the muscles from the waist down.
- Quadriplegia - It is where all four limbs of the person are affected.
- Locked-in syndrome - It is where the person is unable to control any part of their body from under the eye.
Further in the article, we have discussed the paralysis causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods in detail. Let us begin by studying the paralysis symptoms.
Symptoms of Paralysis
Paralysis can be sudden, but it is often a side effect of injuries caused to the brain or spinal cord. At times, a stroke or cancerous cell can also cause paralysis in an individual. Some of the most common paralysis attack symptoms are as follows –
- Loss of sensation in the affected area
- Reduced muscle functioning
- Reduced motor functioning
- Losing the ability to talk
Causes of Paralysis
Some of the most common paralysis causes include the following -
- Injury to the spine
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
Paralysis and weakness in muscles usually occur due to damage to the nervous system, caused mainly because of underlying health conditions. A few health conditions that can lead to paralysis are as follows -
- Acute Flaccid Myelitis
- Brachial Plexus Injury
- Brain Injury
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Post-Polio Syndrome
- Spina Bifida
- Spinal Tumours
- Brain Tumour
- Transverse Myelitis
Besides these, paralysis can cause other health issues as well. Let us take a detailed look at the same.
Health Complications due to Paralysis
Most paralytic conditions do not let individuals lead a normal life. In fact, it can cause serious health complications. The patient will be in constant need of crutches, wheelchairs, full-time nursing, and many other things.
Some of the common health complications during paralysis are chest pain, high blood pressure, and depression. Also, intercourse and fertility of the patient are affected severely. For men, it becomes difficult to maintain a psychogenic erection for a prolonged time. But in the case of complete paralysis in men, the psychogenic erection is impossible. When it comes to women, the sex drives are unaffected by partial or complete paralysis.
Diagnosis of Paralysis
Paralysis diagnosis is often simple and straightforward. When you lose sensation in the muscle, or there is a loss of muscle movement, it becomes obvious for the doctor. However, when paralysis is affecting the internal organs, it’s identification can get a little tricky. Your doctor can suggest taking X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or any other imaging results to study your case further.
On the other hand, if you have recently suffered from a spinal cord injury, the doctors may recommend undergoing myelography to assess your paralysis attack symptoms. Here, a special dye is induced into the nerves of the spinal cord. It helps the doctors see the nervous system more clearly on X-rays.
Besides, the doctor can also suggest electromyography where sensors are used to measure the electrical activity in the muscles. According to the type of paralysis and the causes of the same, the doctor will recommend a bespoke paralysis treatment.
Treatment for Paralysis
At the moment, there is no cure for paralysis. However, in some cases, people tend to recover from some or all muscle movement restrictions on their own or after following the treatment. For instance, there is usually spontaneous recovery in Bell’s palsy (temporary paralysis of facial muscles). The same recovery is possible with treatment after a stroke.
Further, paralysis treatment is essential to prevent the situation from degrading, especially in the case of multiple sclerosis. Doctors usually suggest rehabilitation to address complications arising due to paralysis. This allows the paralytic person to live an independent life (as much as is possible). Some rehabilitation treatments used are as follows:
It uses a combination of treatments such as heat, massages, and exercises to stimulate the nerves and muscles of the affected region.
It mainly focuses on allowing the affected person to perform daily activities with ease.
the affected person can use manual and electric wheelchairs and scooters.
The affected person can use braces, canes, and walkers to move around.
Here, voice-activated computers, lighting systems, and telephones are used.
It makes use of special eating vessels and controls for driving a motor vehicle.
Outlook for People with Paralysis
As explained earlier, paralysis is an incurable health condition. People suffering from paralysis usually do not regain sensation or movement in the affected region(s). However, irrespective of the condition, the healthcare team can recommend assistive technologies, therapies, and other solutions that can improve the patient’s life.
For instance, we have special braces and electronic mobile devices that allow the patient to move independently. Occupational therapies and other professional methods, as explained earlier, can help modify the following (as per the patient’s ability).
- Home access
- Motor vehicle access
- Workplace access
Furthermore, doctors can suggest lifestyle changes, medicines, surgery, and other related treatments for managing future paralysis complications.
Prevention of Paralysis
As you know, stroke is one of the major paralysis causes. Therefore, it is imperative to know what one can do to avoid the risks of having a stroke. Below, we have mentioned a few things that you can do.
- Control your blood pressure
High blood pressure can increase the chances of getting a stroke (in men and women). Thus, it is essential to monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals. It is ideal to maintain a blood pressure of less than 120/80. For senior citizens, this is not possible as they have other medication side effects.
A simple way to control your blood pressure is by following a balanced meal. Restrict your salt intake to 1500 mg a day. Avoid eating foods with high saturated fats content. Consume 3-4 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Moreover, get some physical activity like yoga or other exercises for 30 mins. Quit alcohol consumption and smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese is one of the reasons that can increase your chances of having a stroke. Therefore, if you are overweight or obese, it is recommended to get work towards maintaining healthy body weight. It is ideal to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less. You can use a BMI calculator to determine this value or consult your doctor/nutritionist for the same.
Reducing to a healthy body weight requires dedication and consistency in workout and diet. So, make sure that you are following a bespoke weight loss regime that helps you healthily lose the extra weight.
- Get Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation & Diabetes
Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the person experiences irregular heartbeat due to clots in the heart. These clots can travel to the brain and lead to strokes. Therefore, one should get appropriate treatment for the said condition as soon as possible.
Similarly, high blood sugar levels in the body (diabetic condition) can make clots. Hence, it is highly advisable to get your diabetes under control to avoid suffering from a stroke.
The one suffering from paralysis needs to be taken immediately under medical observation, diagnosis, and treatment. But as of now, there is no cure for paralysis. However, the patient can avail extensive care and mobility to improve their lives in several ways.
Overall, paralysis is not an easy medical condition to deal with. The patient, as well as the family, has to deal with a lot of trauma and financial overburden. While getting the right paralysis treatment can help reduce future complications, the treatment and medication expenses can be managed with an adequate health insurance policy.