SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a combination of diseases that equals a progressive degenerative motor neuron disease that has no cure as of right now. This genetic disorder affects people of all ages from newborns to the elderly and is past down through two mutated autosomal recessive traits from each parent. The degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain stem inhibits a persons ability to speak, breathe, eat swallow, walk and daily activities that we find so easy to do. Although there is no cure for this disease, there are medications and ways to help reduce the rate of deterioration.
There are different types of SMA that target specific age groups:
SMA type 1: often called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, emerges within the first six months of life and is the most severe as well as the most common. These children are unable to sit without support.
SMA type 2: Also referred to as Dubowitz disease, sets in usually between 7 months- 18 months.Few show symptoms of being able to walk/stand without aid but can sit independently. These children also have a tremble in their fingers along with limp muscle tone.
SMA type 3: also known as Kugelberg-Welander disease, symptoms develop just after 18 months of life or in some cases not until late childhood.Breathing and swallowing difficulties do not really occur at this time but these children have difficulties walking, standing, running, climbing stairs and etc. But they do not all have they same inability to do those things, some can walk on their own. Children with SMA end up losing all ability to walk by the age of 14 years old.
SMA type 4: is Adult-onset SMA, occurs in full-grown adults. They will have progressive muscle weakness, scoliosis, tremors in the muscles as well as twitching, but these symptoms don't happen over night. This is built on throughout the years and is only mild to moderate.
They are able to determine if a person has SMA, Doctors will do blood tests, muscle biopsy, genetic testing, and electromyography looking for muscle weakness, biomarkers in the persons DNA, wether the muscle is floppy or not and to what degree. Over the years the FDA and researchers have come up with medications that can help slow the rate of the disease for adults, they even help children who have SMA to be able to walk on their own. Medications aren't the only way to help maintain this disease, exercise programs that target improving muscular strength and flexibility on top of maintaining a certain body weight that are given to the patient from a professional has shown great improvements in someone with SMA.
The Chiropractic Office of Dr. Gene Ross encourages everyone, who start to see symptoms of SMA to go see a doctor as soon as possible. The younger the person the more severe the disease is.