Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Approximately half of the muscular dystrophy cases are Duchenne type; and it usually develops in boys. Characteristically, the clinical features first become obvious when the child starts to walk and these may are:
• He falls frequently
• Large calf muscles
• Difficulty in getting up from a sitting or reclining position
• Difficulty in running and jumping
• Waddling gait
• Learning disabilities
Becker muscular dystrophy
This category has clinical features similar to Duchenne type; however, they are milder and advance slowly. Symptom onset is usually in the teenage period, but sometimes, may not occur until the mid 20s or occasionally even later.
Other types of muscular dystrophy
Other types of muscular dystrophy are classified according to a specific characteristic or site of the body where the symptoms first started.
1. Congenital: the symptoms become obvious at birth or before 2 years of age. Some advance gradually and set off mild disability, whilst others advance speedily and result in severe damage.
2. Myotonic: or Steinert’s disease; is characterized by an incapability of relaxing the muscles at will. It commences in early adulthood. The facial muscles are generally the first to get afflicted.
3. Limb-girdle: muscles of the hip and the shoulder get affected first in this form of muscular dystrophy. It is difficult to lift the front part of the foot, thus, the person may trip frequently. Symptoms tend to commence in early childhood to adulthood.
4. Oculopharyngeal: preliminary features of this type of muscular dystrophy are more often than not, drooping of the eyelids. The muscles of the eye, throat and face become weak and there occurs difficulty in swallowing. Clinical manifestations become evident in adulthood, typically when the person is 40 – 50 years old.
5. Fascio-scapulo-humeral: the striking feature of this category of muscular dystrophy is that the shoulder blades tend to stick out like wings when the person raises his arms. Symptoms start in the teenage years or in the 20s.