Symptoms of Tay-Sachs
Loss of muscle coordination, speech problems, and mental illness are some of the common symptoms of Tay-Sachs disease in adults. However, a person's symptoms will vary, depending on the type of disease he or she is experiencing. The most common type begins in infancy, and symptoms may include slowing down of development, muscle weakening, and loss of motor skills.
An Introduction to the Signs and Symptoms of Tay-Sachs
Types of Tay-Sachs disease vary, based on when the disease develops and the symptoms that are present. The most common form of Tay-Sachs begins in infancy. A much more rare form of Tay-Sachs, late-onset Tay-Sachs disease, affects adults. The symptoms will also vary for each type.
Symptoms in Infants
Infants with Tay-Sachs disease typically appear normal for the first three to six months. Then symptoms of Tay-Sachs begin to occur. Common symptoms in infants include:
- Slowing down of development
- Weakening of muscles
- Loss of motor skills such as turning over, sitting, and crawling.
As the disease progresses, other symptoms may also occur, including:
- Increased startle reflex to noise
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Inability to swallow
- Mental retardation
An eye abnormality called a cherry-red spot, which can be identified with an eye examination, is one of the characteristic symptoms of Tay-Sachs disease. Children with this severe form of the condition usually only live into early childhood.
Symptoms in Adults
Other forms of Tay-Sachs disease are much more rare. One such form is adult-onset Tay-Sachs disease. With this form of the disorder, signs and symptoms are usually milder than those seen in infants with the condition. Tay-Sachs symptoms for adult-onset (or late-onset) Tay-Sachs disease include:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Other problems with movement
- Speech problems
- Mental illness.
Symptoms vary widely among people with late-onset Tay-Sachs. People can generally live full adult lives, although most become wheelchair-bound.