Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic, progressive neuromuscular disorder. SMA affects muscle-controlling nerve cells, called motor neurons, in the spinal cord.
The condition leads to muscle weakness and muscle atrophy. Symptoms vary and can range from mild to severely disabling.
A child diagnosed with SMA may have difficulty crawling, sitting up, controlling head movements, and walking. In some cases, it interferes with swallowing and breathing.
Here’s what to know about SMA.
SMA can affect just about anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. All known forms of SMA are genetic, usually involving a problem with a specific gene.
There are several types of SMA that vary by age at onset. Signs and symptoms include difficulty swallowing and chewing, breathing problems, and limited mobility.
While there’s no cure for SMA, treatment can help. Home modifications, medications, assistive devices, physical and occupational therapy, and feeding and breathing assistance are all things that can make living with SMA easier.
SMA is a rare neuromuscular disorder typically diagnosed in early childhood. There’s a clear genetic cause for SMA. If your child is diagnosed with SMA, it’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent it.
There’s no cure for SMA, but treatment can help slow progression and manage symptoms. Work with your child’s healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that helps your child achieve the best quality of life possible.