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Benign Congenital Hypotonia

Benign Congenital Hypotonia Definition

Benign congenital hypotonia is a condition of abnormally low muscle tone, which is the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle, and it often involves reduced muscle strength. It is not a specific medical disorder, but a potential manifestation of many different diseases and disorders that affect the motor nerve control of the brain or muscle strength. Recognizing benign congenital hypotonia, even in early infancy, is relatively straightforward, but diagnosing the cause underlying it can be difficult and often unsuccessful. The long-term effects of hypotonia on a child's growth and development, and later on in life, depend primarily on how severe the muscle weakness is and the nature of the cause. Other names of this condition are Hypotonia , Congenital Hypotonia, Congenital Muscle Hypotonia , Congenital Muscle Weakness, and Amyotonia Congenita.

Benign Congenital Hypotonia Diagnosis

Benign or mild hypotonia is often diagnosed through a series of exercises designed to assess the child's developmental progress, or his observation of physical interactions. Since a hypotonic child finds it difficult to decipher his spatial location, he may have some coping mechanisms that are quite recognizable, such as locking the knees while trying to walk. One common sign of affected infants is a tendency to observe the physical activity of those around them for a long time before attempting to imitate these actions, due to frustration over early failures.

Benign Congenital Hypotonia Symptoms and Signs

People affected by this condition often display general weakness and reduced strength and endurance of the muscles. Depending on the underlying cause, different sets of muscles may be involved. Infants with hypotonia often display poor suckling and chewing, an inability to lift their head, rolling to move around instead of crawling, physical passivity, and a weak cry. Often, the child will feel like a sack of gelatin when you pick him up because he tends to slide out of your hands. Also, when the mouth muscles are affected, drooling and speech difficulties can occur in young children. Patients may also experience hypermobility of their joints, enabling them to bend their fingers far back. Children with hypotonia often find it comfortable to sit in the cross-legged position and other painful or contortionist looking postures. Other symptoms include poor reflexes, developmental delay, and constipation for those whose bowel muscles are involved. Skeletal abnormalities are also associated with many forms of BCH.

Benign Congenital Hypotonia Treatment

There is currently no known treatment or cure for perhaps all causes of benign congenital hypotonia. Physical, occupational, and speech therapies are often recommended, with very good results. Orthoses for the ankle and feet are sometimes used for weak ankle muscles. Hypotonic babies tend to be passive and may need extra stimulation. Sign language may benefit toddlers and children with speech difficulties greatly until speech has become intelligible by the family.

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