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Spinal Muscular Atrophy - SMA

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Updated May 29, 2013

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Types of Spinal Muscular Atrophy - SMA Type 2
SMA type 2, also called Intermediate SMA, is the most common type of SMA. It allows for a longer lifespan than SMA Type 1, but a shorter-than-normal lifespan overall. Lifespan may go until the 20s or 30s. Respiratory infection is the most common cause of death in type 2. SMA type 2 begins either between 6 and 18 months or after the child has demonstrated she or he can sit without support (after being placed in a sitting position).

Symptoms of type 2 include deformity, motor delay, enlarged calf muscles and tremors in the fingers. Proximal muscles that lie closest to the spine are affected with weakness first; the legs will become weak before the arms. Children with type 2 SMA will never be able to walk without assistance. The good news is that the child with SMA will most likely be able to perform tasks with their arms and hands, such as keyboarding, feeding, etc. It has been observed that children with SMA type 2 are very intelligent. Physical therapy, assistive devices and power wheelchairs can go a long way toward contributing to a meaningful life for children with SMA type 2.


Watch Out for 2 Main Problems with SMA Type 2
  • Wearespiratory muscles can cause infections
  • Scoliosis and/or kyphosis may develop due to weak spinal muscles.
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