August is spinal muscular atrophy awareness month. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, debilitating, genetic disease that robs children or adults of their ability to control the muscles in the shoulders, hips, and back. As you can imagine, the progressive loss of core muscle control takes away the ability to sit, stand, walk, or jump. The symptoms of this terrible disease vary based on the type of the disease the individual suffers from. Here, we will highlight some of the facts about this disease to help bring awareness.
SMA is a progressive, degenerative disease that causes a loss of specialized motor neurons in the brainstem. This leads to the weakening or wasting (atrophy) of voluntary muscles that support the trunk of the body. Each type is characterized by the severity of the symptoms and the age of onset.
SMA Type 0
is the most severe form and affects fetuses in utero. This usually results in decreased fetal movement and respiratory failure.
SMA Type 1
, also known as Werdnig Hoffman disease, is the most common form of SMA, and affects infants with an onset before six months. If the disease is restricted to the muscles of the hips, back, and shoulders, the baby will never be able to sit unsupported, crawl, or walk. In more severe cases, it will interfere with the baby’s ability to breathe or swallow food.
SMA Type 2
affects children between the ages of six months and one year. These babies may learn how to sit independently and might crawl or take their first steps, but are generally not able to sustain these activities because of the atrophy of underdeveloped muscles.
SMA Type 3
, also known as Kugelberg-Welander syndrome, has a childhood onset. These children learn to walk, but progressively have more difficulty supporting their own body weight.
SMA Type 4
is diagnosed after ten years of age and has a much slower progression. In fact, with therapies, patients can remain able to walk until around 60 years.
Finding a Cure
Currently, there is no known cure for SMA. However, treatments are being tested and a cure is still being investigated. The more awareness that is brought to this disease means the potential for more funding for a cure. For those who suffer from this debilitating disease, basic functions such as walking may be increasingly difficult over their lifetime. One thing that can help slow the progression of the disease is to remain as physically active as possible.
At Rebounderz of Sacramento, we believe that fun physical activity should be enjoyed by people of all health statuses to help promote healthy body functions and reduce stress. We also believe that children of all abilities should be able to enjoy the fun and entertainment that we provide. If your child has been affected by SMA, contact us to see how we can accommodate your needs to provide your child with the opportunity to enjoy trampoline rebounding. Unfortunately, we cannot allow wheelchairs onto the trampoline surface, but we do find ways to cater to our guests with special needs. Contact us for more information today.