Signs and Symptoms of Paralysis

The signs and symptoms of paralysis will depend upon what caused the paralysis, as well as what parts of the body are affected. Loss of movement and feeling can be sudden and immediate, such as with trauma or stroke, or it can begin with muscle weakness and gradually progress, particularly when it is caused by certain diseases or illnesses.

Effects of Paralysis

The effects of paralysis will depend upon its severity, as well as what parts of the body it affects. Depending upon the severity of the paralysis as well as its underlying causes, it can affect the arms, legs, arms and legs, or trunk. Paralysis can be present on the right side or the left side of the body, or it can be present unilaterally. Paralysis caused by damage to the nervous system can affect the nerves carrying sensory information, as well as the nerves which control the heart, lungs, glands, and intestines. When paralysis is caused by damage to the brain, speech, behavior, and cognitive ability can also be affected.

What Causes Paralysis Symptoms

Our sense of movement is controlled by communication between the sensory nerves, known as the peripheral nervous system, and the brain and spinal cord, which comprise the central nervous system. Paralysis can affect any part of the body, and the following causes are associated with paralysis symptoms:

  • Neurological diseases, such as Cerebral Palsy, Bell's Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Infectious or autoimmune diseases such as HIV, Lyme disease, Spondylitis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Serious or life-threatening conditions such as brain tumor, trauma, hemorrhage, or stroke
  • Trauma such as a herniated vertebral disk, broken or severed spinal cord, or direct trauma to a nerve
  • Environmental factors such as toxins, radiation or poisons

Indirect Effects of Paralysis

Because paralysis causes immobility, it has a rather significant effect on the other systems in the body. These include:

  • Changes to circulation and respiration
  • Changes to the kidneys and gastrointestinal system
  • Changes to muscles, joints, and bones
  • Spasticity of the limbs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pressure sores
  • Edema
  • Blood clots in the lower limbs
  • Feelings of numbness or pain
  • Skin injury
  • Bacterial infection
  • Disruption of the normal working of the tissues, glands, and organs
  • Constipation
  • Loss of control of urination
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Abnormal breathing or heart rate
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Behavioral issues
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Vision problems