- Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder and can be categorized into four types.
- This disorder can make it difficult for the person to walk, stand, and in some cases, even swallow or breathe.
- The severity of the symptoms will greatly vary depending on the type and age of onset.
- Currently, there is no cure, however, there are treatment options available that may help the individual live a healthy life.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder. The Cleveland Clinic says about 1 in 50 Americans carry the mutated gene. And while carriers don’t develop SMA, there is a 1 in 4 chance that two carriers will have a child who develops the disorder.
SMA sufferers lose nerve cells (known as motor neurons) that control muscle movement. This causes muscle weakness and wasting (atrophy) and in turn, it can make it difficult for the person to walk, stand, and in some cases, even swallow or breathe. This is why it’s important to get informed. Here’s what you need to know about spinal muscular atrophy including the four types, common symptoms, causes, and the treatment options available.
Types of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal muscular atrophy is categorized into four types. The symptoms and severity of the disease will vary in each type, as well as how it impacts the quality of life and life expectancy. In general, the lower the number, the earlier the disease develops and the more severe the symptoms are.
First, we’ll mention type 0 which is the rarest and most severe form of SMA, says WebMD. This type develops in utero. Fetuses with type 0 tend to move less in the womb. They’re also “born with joint problems, weak muscle tone, and weak muscles for breathing,” says the source.