A progressive genetic disorder, spinal muscular atrophy or SMA is a condition that affects the muscles and the nervous system. The muscles are controlled by the nerve cells which are in the spinal cord. This fact accounts for the name of the condition i.e spinal muscular atrophy. The condition is rare and is commonly found to affect babies. Spinal muscular atrophy can cause the muscles to become weak and shrink, thus, making it difficult to control movements of the head, sit without taking help, walk, and much more.
There are four types of spinal muscular atrophy. The seriousness of the condition and the symptoms will greatly depend upon the type. While the first 3 types are common during the first years of one’s life, type 4 is a possibility upon reaching adulthood. Type 4 of spinal muscular atrophy comes with symptoms that include twitching, breathing issues, and muscle weakness. The symptoms stay throughout one’s life, however, the impact can be controlled. The life expectancy for type 4 spinal muscular atrophy is much longer than with the other types. Patients can live a long and fulfilling life that may be further enhanced through certain practices. Here are 3 measures that can increase the life expectancy of people with Type 4 spinal muscular atrophy and lessen the effects of the symptoms.
Nutritious diet – A nutritious diet is one of the most essential things for patients with Type 4 spinal muscular atrophy. The right measure of calorie intake will enable the patient to effectively use their weak muscles to the best of their capacity. While there is no particular diet to follow, a mix of the best nutritional food is capable of going a long way. Consulting a nutritionist to understand the best foods that one must consume is the best way to proceed.
Therapy – Spinal muscular atrophy makes it extremely difficult to carry out essential daily activities. Constant therapy can do wonders in reducing the effects of the symptoms. Patients must visit an occupational and physical therapist. The professional’s aid in training with different easy ways to undertake activities and strengthen muscles will eventually help one gain greater control over their lives.
Physical activity – The weak muscles can result in the lessening of mobility; however, the condition must not restrict activities. The goal is to indulge in different exercises that do not cause fatigue and increase the flexibility in muscles. It is also important to note that the exercise must not produce pain and exhaustion, or it can further damage the muscles.
No two people with spinal muscular atrophy experience the same effects. Similarly, the life expectancy too can differ from person to person. A patient must stay informed about the different aspects of the condition and effectively work alongside a medical team.