Deafness, blindness, paralysis, seizures, and delayed mental and social development are symptoms of Tay-Sachs disease in infants and in children who develop late-onset juvenile Tay-Sachs, notes Healthline. People with chronic Tay-Sachs that progresses more slowly may exhibit slurred speech, muscle cramps and tremors, while those with adult Tay-Sachs may experience symptoms such as memory problems, tremors, and unsteady gait and muscle weakness.
Tay-Sachs is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that most commonly affects infants, and it is always fatal in that population, as of 2015, according to Healthline. Children must receive a defective gene on chromosome 15 from both parents to contract Tay-Sachs disease, and the condition is most common in Ashkenazi Jews whose descendants are from Central or Eastern Europe. Children who receive one defective gene do not get Tay-Sachs, but they can pass the gene on to their children.
The damage to infants with Tay-Sachs begins while they are still in the uterus, and most die by the time they are 4 to 5 years old, states Healthline. People with late-onset juvenile Tay-Sachs usually experience symptoms between the ages of 2 and 10, and this version of the condition usually causes death by the age of 15. People with chronic Tay-Sachs also develop symptoms by the age of 10; however, the disease does not progress as quickly as in those with juvenile Tay-Sachs. The mildest form of Tay-Sachs produces symptoms during adolescence or adulthood, and the life expectancy for people with this form of the disorder varies.