Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), is an often fatal genetic neuromuscular disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement, which affects crawling, walking, head and neck control, and even swallowing.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
SMA is one of the most prevalent genetic disorders.
One in every 10,000 babies is born with SMA.
SMA can strike anyone regardless of any age, race or gender.
One in every 40 people carries the gene that causes SMA. The child of two carriers has a one in four chance of developing SMA.
7.5 million Americans are carriers.
TYPES OF SMA
SMA patients are classified into four types based on milestones achieved at onset of SMA. Type I and II are the most prevalent.
Type I is the most severe form of SMA. It strikes infants between birth and six months old. Children affected with Type I cannot sit without support. Most Type I babies pass away before the age of two.
Type II patients first show symptoms between seven and 18 months old. Type II patients may be able to sit unaided or even stand with support. They are at increased risk for complications from respiratory infections.
Type III is the least deadly form of childhood-onset SMA. It strikes children as early as the age of 18 months, but can surface as late as adolescence. Type III patients are able to walk, but weakness is prevalent. Most patients eventually need to use a wheelchair.
Type IV is the adult form of the disease. Symptoms tend to begin after age 35.
Please visit curesma.org for more information.