Tay-Sachs disease

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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.




The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.