Hereditary spastic paraplegia is a group of inherited disorders that cause weakness and stiffness of the leg muscles.It is inherited by an abnormal gene from the parents which causes the long nerves in the spine of the affected child to deteriorate. It leads to spasticity (abnormally stiff and rigid muscles) and weakness in the leg muscles, which progressively gets worse. Most forms of HSP mainly affect the lower body and the arms and hands are usually unaffected.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of spastic paraplegia inherited.
There is no treatment that can slowe or reverse the disease, but treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms and help the person manage day-to-day activities. For example:
•muscle relaxants such as baclofen and tizanidine and botulinum injections (Botox) can help relieve spasticity
•regular physiotherapy can help improve the muscle strength and range of movement
•a lower leg brace can help foot drop
•surgery may occasionally be needed to release tendons or shortened muscles.
The prognosis for this disorder varies from person to person. Some people are very disabled and need a wheelchair, while others only suffer a mild disability and do not need any walking aid. HSP does not usually affect life expectancy.
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