Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling (sensory loss) in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor.
What Is Paralysis?
Paralysis is a loss of muscle function in part of the body. It can be partial or complete, temporary or permanent, and localized or generalized. Most patients feel no pain in the paralyzed areas of their bodies. They also have no control over how those muscles move. Paralysis can affect any part of the body at any time in a person's life.
What are the signs of paralysis problems?
Paralysis is the loss of muscle movement in the body. Our sense of movement is controlled by communication between the sensory nerves (which are part of the peripheral nervous system) and the central nervous system (comprised of the brain and spinal cord). Disruption of communication of nerve impulses anywhere along the pathway from the brain to the muscles can impair control of muscle movement and cause muscle weakness and loss of coordination. Muscle weakness can progress to paralysis, loss of the ability to move the muscles.
Paralysis symptoms can occur anywhere in the body. They may occur on both sides of the body (bilateral) or one side (unilateral). Paralysis occurring in the lower half of the body, below the midsection, is known as paraplegia. Quadriplegia is paralysis occurring in both the arms and the legs.
Paralysis can be caused by trauma or spinal cord injuries. Neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Bell's palsy (inflammation of the facial nerve), and other types of nerve damage (such as neuropathy) can cause paralysis. Some cases of paralysis are caused by autoimmune disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Stroke and transient ischemic attack are common and potentially life-threatening causes of paralysis. Exposure to toxins and poisonings are also known to cause paralysis. These include exposure to the botulinum toxin, certain toxins in shellfish, or venom from snakes or jellyfish.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for permanent paralysis till date. Treatment in such cases is actually mostly rehabilitation which helps the person to adapt to the compromised life and to become as independent as possible with the help of aids. It also aims to correct the complications such as pressure ulceration (ulcers which arise due to a static position on the bed that arise from paralysis).
Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is an inherited disorder in which a person has episodes of muscle weakness and sometimes severe paralysis. Treatment is given to relieve symptoms and prevent further attacks. Potassium helps prevent an attack and is either orally or, in severe cases, intravenously administered. A medicine called acetazolamide prevents attacks in many cases. Triamterene or spironolactone may help prevent attacks in people who do not respond to acetazolamide. A study from California suggested that Topiramate is also effective in cases of children.