Tay-Sachs Disease

By Cecilia McClain

What is Tay-Sachs Disease?

It is a very rare disease that causes nerve cells to die quickly and causes mental and physical disabilities. Tay- Sachs is caused by the missing enzyme known as hex-A. the missing enzyme causes cells to be damaged and killed. Hex-A plays a big part in the brain and spinal cord. It begins around the age of six months and usually ends in death around the age of five. Each year, about 16 cases of Tay-Sachs are diagnosed in the United States. (websites1&4)

What Are The Symptoms?

A baby will grow and function normally for the first six months of their life. The symptoms don't begin to show until about six months of age. The baby will start to lose the ability to see, hear, and move. A red spot will be in the back of the child's eyes. The kid will stop crawling, smiling, reaching out for things, and turning over. Around the age of two a kid could start to have seizures and become disabled. Death usually occurs by the time the child is 5 years old. (website3)

Is There A Cure For Tay-Sachs?

Sadly, there is no cure for Tay-Sachs. However there are many things a family can do to support a child that has the disease. Doctors may prescribe medicine to prevent seizures that are common. Respiratory care such as breathing tubes are very important to childen with the disease because they may not be able to breathe on their own. Feeding tubes are put in place to make sure the child gets the nutrients it needs because it can't eat on its own. Many children go to physical therapy to help with their physical disabilities, doing activities that require their body to move or grasp things. The most important care a child suffering from the disease needs is strong family support and love. (website1)