Recog­nis­ing the signs

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Family -

Spinal mus­cu­lar atro­phy (SMA) is a rare, de­bil­i­tat­ing ge­netic dis­or­der; a neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­ease that af­fects the part of the ner­vous sys­tem that con­trols vol­un­tary mus­cle move­ment.

It af­fects a per­son’s mus­cu­lar de­vel­op­ment and the sever­ity de­pends on the type of SMA one has.

The ear­lier the symp­toms are no­ticed, the more se­vere the con­di­tion is.

Type One (se­vere) Af­fect­ing chil­dren in the womb or shortly af­ter birth (within six months).

In­fants will have se­vere mus­cle weak­ness, poor swal­low­ing re­flexes and dif­fi­cul­ties breath­ing. 95% will not live past their sec­ond birth­day.

Type Two (In­ter­me­di­ate) Be­gins to af­fect chil­dren be­tween six and 18 months old. Symp­toms in­clude fail­ure or de­lays in meet­ing mo­tor mile­stones. Can sit up but can­not walk. Short­ened life ex­pectancy.

Type Three (Mild)

Be­gins to af­fect chil­dren as early as 18 months or as late as ado­les­cence. Chil­dren are ini­tially able to stand and walk but will grow weaker and many need to use a wheel­chair. Chew­ing and swal­low­ing may be af­fected later. Nor­mal life ex­pectancy.

Type Four

The adult form of the dis­or­der. Symp­toms start af­ter 35 and slowly get worse over time. Be­cause it develops slowly, many peo­ple don’t know that they have it un­til years af­ter symp­toms be­gin.

Life ex­pectancy is nor­mal.

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