all you wanted to know about Muscular Dystrophy..
Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of more than 30 inherited diseases that cause muscle weakness and muscle loss. Some forms of MD appear in infancy or childhood, while others may not appear until middle age or later. The different muscular dystrophies vary in who they affect and the symptoms. All forms of MD grow worse as the person's muscles get weaker. Most people with MD eventually lose the ability to walk.
There is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Treatments include physical and speech therapy, orthopedic devices, surgery and medications. Some people with muscular dystrophy have mild cases that worsen slowly. Others cases are disabling and severe.
SymptomsSigns and symptoms
Signs and symptoms vary according to the type of muscular dystrophy. In general, muscular dystrophy symptoms may include:
Many specific signs and symptoms vary from among the different forms of MD. Each type is different in the age of onset, which parts of the body the symptoms primarily affect and how rapidly the disease progresses.
Duchenne's muscular dystrophy is the most severe form of dystrophinopathy. It occurs mostly in young boys and is the most common form of MD that affects children. Signs and symptoms of Duchenne's MD may include:
Signs and symptoms of Duchenne's usually appear between the ages of 2 and 6. It first affects the muscles of the pelvis, upper arms and upper legs. By late childhood, most children with this form of muscular dystrophy are unable to walk. Most die by their late teens or early 20s, often from pneumonia, respiratory muscle weakness or cardiac complications. Some people with Duchenne's MD may exhibit curvature of their spine (scoliosis).
Becker's muscular dystrophy is a milder form of dystrophinopathy. It generally affects older boys and young men, and progresses more slowly, usually over several decades. Signs and symptoms of Becker's MD are similar to those of Duchenne's. The onset of the signs and symptoms is generally around age 11, but may not occur until the mid-20s or even later. Those affected by Becker's MD usually are able to walk through their teens, and often well into adulthood.Myotonic dystrophy
Also known as Steinert's disease, this form of muscular dystrophy produces stiffness of muscles and an inability to relax muscles at will (myotonia), as well as the muscle weakness of the other forms of muscular dystrophy.
Although this form of MD can affect children, it often doesn't affect people until adulthood. It can vary greatly in its severity. Muscles may feel stiff after using them. Progression of this form of MD is slow. Besides myotonia, signs and symptoms of adult-onset myotonic dystrophy may include:
Rarely, infants have this form of muscular dystrophy, in which case it's called congenital myotonic dystrophy. The infant form is more severe, although infants with myotonic dystrophy don't experience myotonia. Signs in infants may include:
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
Also known as Landouzy-Dejerine dystrophy, this form involves progressive muscle weakness, usually in this order:
When someone with facioscapulohumeral MD raises his or her arms, the shoulder blades may stick out like wings. Progression of this form is slow, with some spurts of rapidly increasing weakness. Onset usually occurs during the teen to early adult years.
Other major types of muscular dystrophy
The other major types of muscular dystrophy include:
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy
Muscles usually affected first by this form of muscular dystrophy include:
This form then progresses to the arms and legs, though progression is slow. Limb-girdle MD may begin from early childhood to adulthood.
Congenital muscular dystrophy
Signs of congenital MD may include:
This form is apparent at birth and progresses slowly. More severe forms of congenital MDs may involve severe mental and speech problems as well as seizures.
Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy
The first sign of this type of muscular dystrophy is usually drooping of the eyelids, followed by weakness of the muscles of the eye, face and throat, resulting in difficulty swallowing. Progression is slow. Signs and symptoms first appear in adulthood, usually in a person's 40s or 50s.
Distal muscular dystrophy
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
This form of muscular dystrophy usually begins in the muscles of the:
Cardiac arrhythmias, stiffness of the spine and muscle contractures are other features of Emery-Dreifuss MD. Emery-Dreifuss MD usually begins in the childhood to early teen years and progresses slowly.
DiagnosisScreening and diagnosis
A careful review of your family's history of muscle disease can help your doctor reach a diagnosis. In addition to a medical history review and physical examination, your doctor may rely on the following in diagnosing muscular dystrophy:
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