What Is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?

Q:
What is spinal muscular atrophy?

A:
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) most often affects babies and children and makes it hard for them to use their muscles. When your child has SMA, there’s a breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The brain stops sending messages that control muscle movement.

When that happens, your child’s muscles get weak and shrink, and he can have trouble controlling head movement, sitting without help, and even walking. In some cases he can have trouble swallowing and breathing as the disease progresses.

There are different types of SMA, and how serious it is depends on which type your child has. There’s no cure, but treatments can improve some symptoms and in some cases help your child live longer. Researchers are working to find new ways to fight the disease.

Keep in mind that every child or adult who has SMA will have a different experience. No matter how much your child’s movement is limited, the disease doesn’t affect his intelligence in any way. He will still be able to make friends and socialize.

Keyword: spinal muscular atrophy

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.