What is the Life Expectancy of a Victim of Cerebral Palsy?

Most researchers give life expectancy to chronic illness patients in terms of mean survival time and not the true high and lows of the scale. Some children with cerebral palsy live out their lives to the age of non-stricken peers without major deficiencies in quality of life except those imposed by the diseases. The life expectancy of a cerebral palsy infant is more scrutinized. A majority of the studies are focused on the first few years of life instead of the interim life and the golden years. With so much interest on the infant mortality rate, the true scope of adult life expectancy can be overshadowed.

The advancement of medicine and the increased population of research oriented institutions have made survival of cerebral palsy a more likely event than several decades ago. Most doctors of that time would give the life expectancy of cerebral palsy children a decade or less than the average patient without the disease. There are different expectations for children who are in a vegetative state, but those have now been ruled out of the estimate for longevity. Adult life expectancy for cerebral palsy contains many components to make the diagnosis. These include the type of cerebral palsy and the severity of the manifestations of the condition.

The life expectancy for those who suffer from extreme rigidity or convulsive normality can live to around thirty years. Those who have less severe symptoms, from moderate to light, can live from sixty to seventy years. Those who have very light symptoms will have the same life expectancy as a non-disabled equivalent. Studies show that keeping patients ambulatory is a method that extends the life expectancy. Though this method is for adult and elderly patients, a young child, once mobile can also utilize mobility to increase longevity. If the patient loses to ability to walk, the muscles the other parts of their body will overcompensate or become dormant. This will allow the conditions of the disease to become more prevalent in the healthy extremities.

The mental condition of the patient is also important for longevity. The more active mentally and socially the person is, the more apt that person is to live longer. The positive mental attitude will have a direct correlation to the physical attributes of the body. By keeping involved in education, social activities, and independent life skill pursuits the patient can have a longer life with more life quality contained within it.