How much do you know about spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)? It’s a genetic disease that progressively weakens the muscles of babies and small children which can lead to problems with walking, swallowing and breathing. Often babies are born healthy with no visible signs of the disease. It’s only when they fail to meet developmental milestones like supporting their head, rolling, and crawling do parents and doctors realize something’s wrong.
To help raise awareness of the disease, we’ve put together some fast facts to help you better understand SMA using information from SMA Australia and Fight SMA.
● Between one in 35 to one in 40 people carry the SMA gene. If you and your partner have the gene there is a one in four chance your child will have SMA.
● SMA affects males and females equally and has no ethnic bias.
● While there is currently no cure for SMA, the National Institute of Health is confident that a cure will soon be found.
● The faulty genes responsible for SMA are the SMN1 and SMN2 gene.
● There are four types of SMA with type 1 being the most severe and type 4 the mildest.