Spinal Muscular Atrophy

What are the causes of spinal muscular atrophy?

Types of Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Know the symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy

Treatment methods

Knowing how to prevent spinal muscular atrophy

 

What is spinal muscular atrophy?

Spinal muscular atrophy This condition defines that there is damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, as a result of which the brain stops sending messages that control muscle movement.

Spinal muscular atrophy usually affects infants and children and makes it difficult for them to use their muscles.

 

What are the causes of spinal muscular atrophy?

  • Spinal muscular atrophy is a disease that results from a defect in the genes and is transmitted from parents to their children. If the child suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, it means that both the father and the mother carry the gene responsible for spinal muscular atrophy and have been passed on to their child.
  • This genetic defect causes the bodies of people with it to be unable to make a specific type of protein. Without this protein, the nerve cells responsible for controlling muscles die.
  • If the child has only one defective gene responsible for one of the parents, he will not develop spinal muscular atrophy, but he will be a carrier of the disease. When the child grows up, he can pass the gene to his child.

 

Types of spinal muscular atrophy

The main types of spinal muscular atrophy include:

  • Type I: It develops in children under the age of 6 months and is the most virulent and dangerous type.
  • The second type: appears in children between the ages of 7-18 months and is less dangerous and virulent than the first type.
  • Type III: It develops after 18 months and is the least dangerous type that affects children.
  • Type IV: It affects adults and usually causes only mild problems.

Children with type 1 rarely live past the first few years of life. Most children with type 2 live to adulthood and can live long lives. Types 3 and 4 usually do not affect the patient’s life expectancy.

 

Know the symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy

Symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy depend on its type and severity, as well as the age at which it develops. Common symptoms include:

Muscle weakness.

shivering

Difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Changes in the shape of the limbs, spine, and chest, as a result of muscle weakness.

 

Difficulty standing, walking, and possibly sitting.

  • In all forms of the disease, the main features of spinal muscular atrophy include muscle weakness, which occurs because the nerves that control movement, called motor neurons, are unable to signal muscles to contract, and weakness tends to affect the muscles closest to the center of the body.
  • Motor neurons normally send these signals from the spinal cord to the muscles via the motor neuron’s axon, and in this case, that axon is off.
  • Muscular dystrophy is a degenerative disease whose symptoms tend to worsen over time.

 

Methods of Treatment

Currently, SMA cannot be cured, but research and scientific studies are underway to find potential new treatments for SMA.

The current and available treatment is supportive therapy to control symptoms and help individuals with SMA achieve the best possible quality of life.

 

Drug therapy

  • Description of corticosteroids that work to help strengthen the muscles and delay the progression of complications of muscle imbalance.
  • Newer medications include etpleersin, which is used especially in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

 

Physical therapy and exercise

  • Performing range-of-motion exercises and stretching exercises that improve cases of atrophy, muscle weakness and joint flexibility.
  • Practicing aerobic sports because it improves muscle atrophy, such as: walking, swimming, and some types of exercises to strengthen the nerves and muscles as well.
  • Placement of braces, which help keep muscles and tendons tight and flexible; Mobility and support for weak muscles.
  • Using some mobility aids such as: canes, wheelchairs, and walkers
  • As a result of respiratory muscle weakness in people with muscular dystrophy, especially at night, a sleep apnea device is provided, which helps improve breathing during the night. In some other cases, a respirator is used.
  • Physiotherapy to improve speech and movement, which is greatly affected by this disease.
  • Functional electrical muscle stimulation, which helps stimulate the contraction and relaxation of muscle movement in a person with muscular dystrophy.
  • Physiotherapy for people with paralysis or movement problems as a result of muscle atrophy and weakness.

 

Surgeries

In the last stage, surgical procedures are used to improve muscle functions for people with muscular dystrophy, neurological diseases or malnutrition.

 

Learn how to prevent spinal muscular atrophy

There is no specific way to prevent muscular dystrophy, but there are some factors that help avoid its complications and improve muscle levels in people, including:

  1. Paying attention to proper nutrition to improve and strengthen the muscle level.
  2. Social support is one of the important factors that help people with muscular dystrophy to improve their psychological state.
  3. Exercising and physical therapy to improve the functional and motor performance of those with muscular atrophy and weakness.
 
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