What are the symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy?Spinal muscular atrophy is sometimes difficult to diagnose, as symptoms can resemble other conditions or medical problems. Each child may experience symptoms differently. There are four types of spinal muscular atrophy based on
symptoms and age of onset. The child may have the following symptoms:
Type I (also called Werdnig-Hoffman) - This is the most severe type of SMA and may be present at birth. Infants have problems holding their head, sucking, feeding, swallowing, and typically move very little. The muscles of the chest are also affected. The motion of the tongue is described as having worm-like movements. Death results usually by the age of 2 to 3 years from breathing problems.
Type II (intermediate form) - This form of SMA is seen in children from 6 months to 2 years of age. They typically have generalized muscle weakness and may require braces, walkers, or a wheelchair for assistance. Life-expectancy may extend to the 20s and 30s.
Type III (also called Wohlfart-Kugelberg-Welander) - This form of SMA affects children between 3 and 17 years of age. These children show signs of clumsiness, difficulty walking, mild muscle weakness, and may be developmentally delayed. These children live long into their adult years.
Type IV - This form of SMA affects adults in their 30s and 40s, resulting in a walking disability.
The symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.