What is muscular dystrophy

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muscular-dystrophy symptomsMuscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder wherein the fibers of the muscle are abnormally vulnerable to damage. The impaired muscles become increasingly weaker. A majority of the people diagnosed with muscular dystrophy will become dependent on a wheelchair eventually.

There are various categories of muscular dystrophy; symptoms of the commonest form commence in childhood, mostly in males. Other forms of the disorder do not emerge till adulthood.

Those having the disease may have difficulty while swallowing and breathing. Limbs get drawn inwards and become fixed in that pose. Some types of muscular dystrophy may afflict the vital viscera of the body.

There isn’t any cure for the condition; nonetheless, medicines and physiotherapy can decelerate the progress of the disorder.

Clinical Manifestations of Muscular Dystrophy

Symptoms of the disease are:

• Muscle weakness, which tends to worsen with time
• A delay in the development of motor skills
• Difficulty in using one or more groups of muscles
• Drooping of the eyelids
• Falling frequently
• Delay in walking
• Drooling
• Loss of muscle
• Reduction in muscle size
• Mental retardation, infrequently

Treating Muscular Dystrophy

There is no definite cure for the condition; however, medicines and physical therapy along with support and love from family and friends can go a long way in managing the disorder effectively.

Corticosteroids enhance muscle strength and decelerate the speed of the disease. Then again, protracted use of corticosteroids tends to weaken the bones and cause fractures.


• Range of movement exercises: muscular dystrophy tends to limit the flexibility of joints. Physiotherapy helps improve the range of motion and keeps the joints supple.

• Breathing aids: the muscles of respiration become weak; therefore, a sleep apnea machine will augment the delivery of oxygen at night. Severe cases of muscular dystrophy may require a ventilator.

• Movement aids: braces proffer support and keep the muscles flexible, thus, decelerating the progress of contractures. Walkers, canes and wheelchairs sustain mobility and self-sufficiency.


• Tendon surgeries will loosen joints that have got drawn inwards due to contractures.

• Inserting a pacemaker will assist the heart in beating regularly and will help tackle heart-related problems.

• Surgical intervention can remedy scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) which makes breathing hard.

Managing Muscular Dystrophy

• Managing a patient of muscular dystrophy involves a major commitment of physical, psychological and financial resources. The condition presents difficulties at home, classroom, and in all facets of life.

• Support groups play a key role in the management of muscular dystrophy. They help deal with the condition better; and are a valued aspect of a network that consists of family, doctors, surgeons, counselors, and friends. Support groups help draw patients, family and friends together, who are all tackling the same kind of trials. Support groups help people to be in touch with one another and discuss their common problems; this provides continuing support and encouragement.

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