Everything You Need to Know About Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

WHAT IS SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY?

SMA is a rare genetic neuromuscular disease that affects the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. To understand this condition let’s deconstruct the name: “Spinal” refers to the loss of motor neurons that are located in the spinal cord.

“Muscular” refers to SMA’s primary effect on muscles, which are not receiving signals from motor neuron cells.

And “Atrophy,” the medical term for something that’s diminishing or wasting away – which is what happens to muscles when they’re not active. A hallmark of SMA is progressive muscle weakness and atrophy as muscles stop receiving signals from the central nervous system.