Every year, the month of August is nationally recognized as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Awareness Month. This month-long awareness campaign serves as an important time to demonstrate support and help promote awareness for this rare disease affecting lives across the world.
WHAT IS SMA?
Affecting 4 people in every 100,000 in the U.S., Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic, progressive disease that causes muscle weakness and atrophy in children and adults. This rare condition causes the spinal cord to form abnormally, eventually affecting the body’s ability to control muscle movements by attacking the lower motor neurons.
SMA refers to a group of genetic conditions, the most common form being Types I-IV which are categorized by the age of onset, the severity of symptoms, and the progression of the condition. Types I-IV of SMA are caused by a mutation in the SMN1 gene which is responsible for creating the SMN protein that is needed for healthy motor neurons. Without the right amount of the SMN protein, the lower motor neurons start to lose effectiveness, causing the muscles to weaken and waste away.
However, there is good news! Many children and adults with SMA have the ability to live full, productive lives with the proper treatment and physical therapy. Check out how one of our users living with SMA utilizes our communication solution to ensure her voice could be heard in her New York classroom here.
YOU CAN HELP!
It is important to recognize and take part in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month to demonstrate support for those lives affected by SMA and to bring about future change for them and those to come. There are numerous things that everyone can do to contribute, including showing support through local and national activities, spreading awareness, educating people on the condition, and raising funds for the research that is needed in the hunt for a cure.
Learn more about SMA and ways you can show your support here.