While paresis and paralysis are two different conditions, there is some overlap in how patients are affected. So we are going to address both conditions by definition and in their characteristics to make it clear how they are different as well as in what ways they are similar. As always, we intend to help improve the ability of our readers to continue thriving with paralysis. So read on to learn more about paralysis and paresis and the differences between these two conditions.
Paresis is a condition that involves impaired movement due to weakness. A person living with paresis may lose between some and all voluntary movement in a particular limb or another part of the body. The name given to paresis changes depending on the part(s) of the body being affected. For example, paraparesis means that both legs are affected by this weakness and impaired voluntary movement.
Hemiparesis refers to paresis on one side of the body. A less used term is general paresis. This would apply to whole body paresis that would occur when syphilis is left untreated. However, the term is not really in use anymore because modern treatments have virtually eliminated this type of paresis. Paresis is not limited to the limbs but can also affect the vocal cords, stomach, eyes, and other parts of the body.
What can cause paresis? Here are a few examples:
While physical therapy may be able to help some patients to restore more mobility, for other patients, paresis is a permanent condition. In such cases, physical or occupational therapy may still be able to help you to maintain the muscle function that you still retain and can help teach you to perform daily tasks on your own despite paresis.
If paresis is weakness that takes away between some and all voluntary movement, then paralysis is the worst level of paresis. It is when all voluntary movement becomes impossible in the region. Plegia is the medical term for paralysis. Therefore, a person living a paraplegic life means that he or she cannot voluntarily move either leg. Hemiplegia involves paralysis on one side of the body.
As with paresis, there are many parts of the body that become entirely paralyzed. There are also a number of different conditions that can cause paralysis along with trauma to the spine. Let’s discuss some of these paralysis causes.
Most causes of paralysis fall into one of four categories:
This isn’t a comprehensive list of every possible cause of paralysis, but many people living a paraplegic life or with some other form of paralysis are in one of these four categories. Whether paralysis or paresis is impacting your life, what can you do to thrive rather than just survive?
The fact is that losing some voluntary movement can affect a person in similar ways to losing all voluntary movement in a particular quadrant or region. Therefore, whether you are living with paresis or paralysis, it is our hope that we can help you to thrive and live your best life. We do this by providing resources for survivors who are living with paralysis, for spouses of individuals living with paralysis, and for caregivers.
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