Facts & Figures
The Cerebral Palsy Population
- About 2 to 3 children out of every thousand born in the UK have cerebral palsy.
- 17 million people live with Cerebral Palsy worldwide
- Approx. 111,000 people have Cerebral Palsy in the UK
2/3rd are adults
Similar population to Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease
- By 2031, there will be almost a 3-fold increase in the number of people with Cerebral Palsy over the age of 65.
- Approximately 1,800 children are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy every year in the UK
This is an incidence rate of around 1 in 400 births. Despite advances in healthcare, whilst this figure has fluctuated over the past 60 years it has not changed considerably.
Cerebral Palsy is 3 times more common than Down syndrome
Cerebral Palsy is nearly 30 times more common than muscular dystrophy
- The incidence rate for Cerebral Palsy is the same across Europe, the United States and Australia.
The Causes of Cerebral Palsy
- The cause of cerebral palsy is not well understood but appears to result from an interaction between multiple factors.
- Although the cause of cerebral palsy is complex, several risk factors for developing cerebral palsy have been identified.
- Infants with a lower gestational age at delivery are more likely to have cerebral palsy. However, 50-65% of children with cerebral palsy are born at term.
- Other risk factors include being a twin, birth asphyxia, intrauterine inflammation or infection or both, abnormal duration of labor and breech delivery.
- Risk factors relating to the mother include being aged over 40 years, a prior diagnosis of seizures, intellectual disability, thyroid disease, diabetes or asthma, and obesity. Low birth weight, placental abnormalities, and emergency Caesarean delivery are also associated with a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy regardless of gestational age at delivery.
- Other factors that are strongly associated with developing cerebral palsy in infants born at pre-term and term are neonatal seizures, respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal low blood glucose and neonatal infection.
Mobility and Cerebral Palsy
- By age 15, about 52% of people with cerebral palsy are able to walk without any assistance. A further 13% of people are able to walk with the help of a walking aid.
- Between 20% and 50% of adults with the cerebral palsy report that they’ve experienced a deterioration in their mobility with age. Many people report this begins at 20-30 years of age, although these varies depending on whether one or both sides of their body is affected.
- Some people with the cerebral palsy report that this deterioration in their gait is due to pain, balance problems, a decline in muscle strength, increased stiffness and fatigue, and reduced aerobic fitness.
- People with cerebral palsy use up to twice as much energy as people without cerebral palsy to walk.
The Cost of Cerebral Palsy
- The lifetime costs for children born in 2016 with cerebral palsy is estimated to total £2bn. This is based on international benchmarks, with 20% related to medical costs and 80% to indirect factors such as reduced employment opportunities and premature mortality.