Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic, progressive neuromuscular disorder. SMA affects muscle-controlling nerve cells, called motor neurons, in the spinal cord.
The condition leads to muscle weakness and muscle atrophy. Symptoms vary and can range from mild to severely disabling.
A child diagnosed with SMA may have difficulty crawling, sitting up, controlling head movements, and walking. In some cases, it interferes with swallowing and breathing.
Here’s what to know about SMA.
Causes of SMA and who it affects
SMA can affect just about anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. All known forms of SMA are genetic, usually involving a problem with a specific gene.