Diseases & Conditions

Muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophyCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Muscular dystrophy?

MD or Muscular dystrophy signifies a group of muscle diseases that are hereditary in origin. Muscular dystrophies are in effect the weakening of those muscles that help move one’s body. MD is characterized by defects in the protein of the muscles, progressive weakness of the skeletal muscles, and the eventual death of muscle tissue and cells.

Causes of muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy tends to be a disease that is determined genetically.

Medication for muscular dystrophy

Although certain steroids are used in order to bring about a slowing down in the progression of muscular dystrophy, they did not in any way effect the inevitable outcome. Myotonia or delayed relaxation in muscles following a strong enough contraction, found in myotonic muscular dystrophy can be treated using medications like phenytoin, mexiletine and guanine. However, there is no real long term therapy has been developed.

Prevention of muscular dystrophy

Since muscular dystrophy occurs only due to genetic or hereditary factors there is no known way of preventing the rather debilitating condition.

Risk factors for muscular dystrophy

Congenital muscular dystrophy may lead to grave brain malformations, like lissencephaly andhydrocephalus. Most persons affected by the hereditary condition suffer from arrhythmias and cardiac conduction defects which can lead to an increased risk of not only stroke but also sudden death.

Symptoms of muscular dystrophy

  • Progressive wasting of muscles followed by loss of body function and weakness
  • In the case of Duchenne's MD, delay in the development of coordination as well as elementary muscle skill in children. Commonly found symptoms consist of poor balance and the attendant tendency to frequent falls, walking with a waddling gait, calf pain as well as restricted range of one’s movement
  • Joint contractures
  • Obesity
  • Drooping eyelids, frontal baldness, gonadal atrophy, mental impairment accompanied by myotonic dystrophy and cataract

Treatment for muscular dystrophy

No particular treatment is available either to cure MD or halt it altogether. Exercise, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, orthopedic instruments like braces and wheelchairs or orthopedic surgery of a corrective nature might help in preserving muscle function and check joint contractures as much as one can, might be helpful in enhancing the quality of one’s life.

Types of Muscular dystrophy

The classification of muscular dystrophy is done as per the location of those muscles that are involved, one’s age at the time of the appearance of the symptoms, the rate of progress of the symptoms as well as the way in which a defective gene has been passed on to the next generation. For instance, the genes for Becker’s and Duchenne’s MD are both recessives of the X-linked type. This means that the conditions develop only in young boys, although carried as well as passed on solely by women.

Muscular dystrophy is of the following types:

  • Duchenne's muscular dystrophy: This is the most severe as well as the most common type of Muscular dystrophy, a condition in which a genetic defect that goes on to produce dystrophin, a muscle protein, something quite abnormal in itself.
  • Becker’s MD: BMD or Becker’s muscular dystrophy, a milder version of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy results from the formation in some measure of a truncated but somewhat functional type of dystrophin.
  • Limb-girdle MD: LGMD or limb-girdle muscular dystrophy displays a similar pattern of muscle weakness that affects upper arms as well as the legs.
  • Facioscapulohumeral MD: FSHD or Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy begins by affecting the facial muscles, upper arms and shoulders with progressive debility. Symptoms of FSHD become apparent during the teenage period. Some of the persons affected get severely disabled.
  • Myotonic muscular dystrophy: This is the most widely prevalent adult form of muscular dystrophy. It is characterized by wasting of the muscles as well as weakness. This condition varies in manifestations as well as severity and can affect several body systems including skeletal muscles, endocrine glands, eyes, gastrointestinal tract as also the heart.
  • Congenital muscular dystrophy: In congenital MD degeneration of muscles might be severe or mild. The effects are confined to the skeletal muscle or the brain as also other organs
  • Distal muscular dystrophy: Distal MD can occur anytime between 20 – 60 years of age. The symptoms are debility, the wasting away of muscles of the arm as well as lower legs. The progress is rather slow and not critical
  • Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy: The onset of oculopharyngeal MD is usually between 40 – 70 years. It affects the muscles of face, throat and eyelids and goes on to cause shoulder and pelvic muscle weakness.
  • Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy: Emery-Dreifuss MD occurs in childhood and early teenage with contractures. Symptoms are muscle wasting and weakness beginning with distal limbs and then progressing to limb-girdle muscles.