August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease.
It is the most common genetic disease for children under the age 2. People diagnosed with SMA are deprived of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away their ability to walk, eat, or even breathe. There is no cure for SMA. I out of 40 adults carry the gene for the disease. The only option for prevention is screening of to-be-parents. It being a recessive gene means both parents must at least carry the gene to pass it to the child. The gene can be easily masked. CompassionCare Hospice of Las Vegas, Nevada knows awareness is important. There are 4 primary types of Spinal Muscular Atrophy: type I, II, III, and IV. The types are broken down when the disease presents itself. SMA Type 1 presents itself at 6 months of age or younger, and it is also the most common. It accounts for 60% of the cases of SMA we see. Anyone who develops Spinal Muscular Atrophy after the age of 18, is said to have type IV of the disease. Kennedy’s Disease is another form of SMA that can present itself between the ages of 30 to 50. It is very rare, and it only affects males.