6 Symptoms of Hoffman’s Syndrome

Although rare, the signs and symptoms of Hoffman’s Syndrome, also known as Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease or spinal muscular atrophy type (SMA, are not to be taken for granted. The condition is quite serious and affects the muscular system, development of motor skills, respiratory system, and often, various other physical difficulties. While cognitive development remains normal, Hoffman’s Syndrome is often fatal in its severest forms. Unfortunately, the odds of survival may not be in the favor of those diagnosed as infants, however, those with less severe respiratory complications may live for many years.

Many patients diagnosed as adults may experience social anxiety, awkwardness, and depression due to the dramatic impact on their daily lives. Adolescents or youth with the condition may also encounter these type of episodes less frequently. However, their siblings are actually more prone due to the stress and responsibilities of coping and caring for the disabled child. While treatment for anxiety is unique to the individual and situation, counseling or ‘talk therapy’ is often advised over medications unless prescribed by a psychiatrist, neurologist, rehabilitative or primary care physician.

1. Proximal muscle weakness

The proximal muscles, those closer to the midsection of the body, are often weaker in patients diagnosed with SMA1 through SMA4. For instance, the hands and feet of a patient are often stronger than the upper arms or thigh regions. The distal muscles, those farther from the midsection, are less affected than others. The hands usually remain the strongest and although their strength may diminish, the patient is usually able to perform common daily functions.