Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder characterized by weakness and wasting (atrophy) in muscles used for movement (skeletal muscles). It is caused by a loss of specialized nerve cells, or motor neurons, that control muscle movement. The weakness tends to be more severe in the muscles that are close to the center of the body compared to muscles away from the body's center and is usually present within the early part of life and worsens with age. Symptoms of SMA can vary greatly, but patients with the most common form may not be able to support their head or sit without help and may have floppy arms and legs and problems swallowing. The biggest concern is weakness in the muscles that control breathing. Because of this, many patients don’t survive past two years old. There is currently one medication available that can slow the disease’s progress, but no cure is available at this time. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is represented by the ivory awareness ribbon and awareness products are available in the Unchargeables Shop.
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