Tay-Sachs is an inherited genetic disease in which the body does not break down fatty compounds, called gangliosides, as it should. As the gangliosides build up in the brain and spinal cord, they damage the nerve cells, and then these cells cannot function properly.
The three forms of Tay-Sachs disease include infantile Tay-Sachs, juvenile Tay-Sachs, and late-onset Tay-Sachs. The infantile form is the most common and causes death in early childhood.
Treatment for Tay-Sachs disease focuses on controlling symptoms and preparing for the course of the disease. There is no cure. Additional personal and family support measures (such as home care or respite care) may be needed as the disease progresses.
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Siobhan M. Dolan MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine