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Paralysis is also called: Hemiplegia, Palsy, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia.
Paralysis is the loss of muscle function in part of your body. It happens when something goes wrong with the way messages pass between your brain and muscles. Paralysis can be complete or partial. It can occur on one or both sides of your body. It can also occur in just one area, or it can be widespread. Paralysis of the lower half of your body, including both legs, is called paraplegia. Paralysis of the arms and legs is quadriplegia.
- Nerve diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Bell’s palsy, which affects muscles in the face
- Polio used to be a cause of paralysis, but polio no longer occurs
There are many potential causes of paralysis. The two most common causes of paralysis in the United States are stroke and trauma, particularly to the nervous system or the brain. Certain diseases or afflictions, such as poliomyelitis, peroneal dystrophy, spina bifida, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Bell’s palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and multiple sclerosis may also cause paralysis to occur. Botulism,paralytic shellfish poisoning, and certain types of poisons, particularly those that directly affect the nervous system, may also lead to paralysis.
The precise type of paralysis a person experiences depends on the underlying cause. With Bell’s palsy, for example, the paralysis is usually localized, which means it only affects a small area of the person’s body. Typically, only one side of the person’s face becomes paralyzed as the facial nerve on that side becomes inflamed. When only one side of a person’s body is affected, paralysis is considered unilateral. When it affects both sides, it is bilateral.
A person who has experienced a stroke, on the other hand, may experience weakness throughout his or her body. This is referred to as global paralysis. Conversely, the person may only experience weakness on one side of his or her body. Medically, this is known as hemiplegia.
Generally, the most severe form of paralysis is caused by damage to the spinal cord. A person who experiences trauma in his or her upper spinal cord may develop quadriplegia as a result. A person who is quadriplegic is unable to move his or her arms and legs. Injury to the lower spinal cord may cause paraplegia, which results in either the legs or the arms becoming paralyzed.
In severe cases of paralysis, it may be necessary for the individual to be fed through feeding tubes. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapymay also be necessary to help treat paralysis.