When a group of diseases attacked a human body in order to damage the muscles is known as muscular dystrophy. This condition consists of inherited disease and the main objective of those diseases is to weaken the muscles.

Overview

A person can be diagnosed with this condition when he lacks a protein known as dystrophin. It is necessary for people to maintain muscle growth and normal function. When a person lacks this protein then it can lead to problems like

  • Difficult to walking
  • Unable to swallow
  • Coordination of the muscles

People of all ages are diagnosed with this condition. Children who are below the age of fourteen years have a higher risk of getting diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when compared to adults. Boys who are very young are more likely to develop this condition than girls. There are treatments to manage the symptoms of this condition which can include lifestyle alternations, non-prescription options as well as prescription medications. When a person is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, it is really important for that person to talk with the physician about what’s going on and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you.

What are the types of muscular dystrophy?

As per medical health professionals, the muscular dystrophy is categorized into seven types. These types include

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Becker muscular dystrophy
  • Myotonic muscular dystrophy
  • Congenital muscular dystrophy
  • Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD)
  • Limb-girdle
  • Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy

It is considered as the most common type of illness. It affects your kids when they are about to attain the age of three. They are unable to walk in this situation and severe cases, they might die due to the failure of the respiratory by the time they reach the twenties.

Becker muscular dystrophy

This condition is similar to the above condition but it progresses slowly and death rate also high to the people who are diagnosed with this type of dystrophy.

Myotonic muscular dystrophy

In this type of dystrophy, the person may unable to relax their muscles once it is contracted. Face and neck are the body parts most affected by this type of muscular dystrophy. The following are the symptoms of myotonic muscular dystrophy. These symptoms include

  • Cataracts
  • Feeling sleepy all the time
  • Arrhythmia

Congenital muscular dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy is common in the people who are below the age of two years. It affects both men and women. This disease progresses slowly as well as rapidly in some people to cause the impairment.

FSHD

This type can occur at any age but it is more common in teenage kids who are between the ages of thirteen to nineteen. Shoulders and faces are the body parts affected by this condition first. People who are suffering from this type of muscular dystrophy tend to open their eyes a little bit while taking a nap and it will be difficult for them to close their eyelids when they want to do it.

Limb-girdle

This type of condition may occur in childhood or teenage. Limb-girdle targets the Shoulder and hip muscles. It will be difficult for the people who are suffering from this condition may face trouble in raising the front part of the foot.

Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy

Older people are affected by this type and it occurs between the ages of forty and seventy years. The following are the body parts affected by this condition. These includes

  • Eyelids
  • Throat
  • Face
  • Shoulder
  • Pelvis

What are the indicators of Muscular dystrophy?

The most common symptom associated with muscular dystrophy is going to be progressive muscle weakness. The following are the symptoms of various types of muscular dystrophy.

Unable to walk, heart weakness, loss of reflexes, unable to swallow, unable to stand on your own feet, unable to breathe or difficulty in breathing, poor posture, mild intellectual impairment, thinning of the bones, and scoliosis are considered as the most common symptoms associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Walking on your toes, unable to stand, frequent falls, and muscular cramps are considered as the symptoms of Becker muscular dystrophy.

Intellectual impairment, muscle weakness, unable to speak properly, unable to see clearly, poor motor control, difficulty in breathing, inability to sit or stand without support, unable to swallow, scoliosis, and foot deformities are considered as the most common symptoms associated with congenital muscular dystrophy.

Excessive sweating, drooping muscles in the face, sudden changes in weight, unable to lift the neck, unable to swallow, unable to see properly, droopy eyelids, and early baldness are considered as the most common symptoms associated with this myotonic dystrophy. The gastrointestinal tract, facial muscles, eyes, central nervous system, thyroid, adrenal glands, and heart are the body parts mostly affected by this condition.

Unable to chew or swallow, the crooked appearance of the mouth, and slanted shoulder are considered as the early signs of Facioscapulohumeral. People who are affected by this type may also suffer from problems relating to hearing and breathing.

Unable to walk, drooping eyelids, problems related to heart, trouble swallowing, unable to see clearly, and changes in your voice are considered as the most common symptoms of Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy.

When to Consult a Physician

It is really important for the people who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of muscular dystrophy to consult a health professional. A discussion with your health care provider may help determine which option would be best for you.

What are the causes of muscular dystrophy?

There can be a variety of causes that can include and this is very important to keep in mind. The main cause of this condition is defective genes. There are certain genes that can damage the fibers of the muscles instead of protecting them.

What are the risk factors of muscular dystrophy?

There are a number of well-established risk factors developing the condition. People who have a family history of this condition or if any member in your family was diagnosed with this disease in the past may also contribute some person to have this condition. Both male and female have a higher risk of getting diagnosed with this condition but there is one type in muscular dystrophy only affects young boys and that type is called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

What are the complications of muscular dystrophy?

Swallowing problems, trouble walking, problems relating to heart, unable to use your hands, curved spine or scoliosis, getting difficulty in breathing or unable to breathe, and shortening of muscles or contractures are considered as the complications of the muscle weakness of muscular dystrophy.

How is muscular dystrophy diagnosed?

In order to diagnose the condition, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination of your body and ask questions relating to the symptoms you are experiencing. The following are the various types of tests recommended by your physician to diagnose the condition. These tests include

  • Enzyme tests
  • Genetic testing
  • Muscle biopsy
  • Heart-monitoring tests
  • Lung-monitoring tests
  • Electromyography

Enzyme tests

The muscles which are affected by the condition may release enzymes, and these enzymes are called creatine kinase (CK) into the blood of an affected person. By doing the test, your physician will know the high blood levels of creatine kinase and if the enzymes are present in your body on a high note, then it is considered as the person is suffering from a muscle disease.

Genetic testing

This test is used to find out whether the genes in your body contributing you to the cause of this condition.

Muscle biopsy

Your physician will remove a piece of muscle from your body through an incision and will send that sample to a laboratory for analysis.

Heart-monitoring tests

Your physician may recommend these tests to check the function of the heart. This test is compulsory for the people who are suffering from myotonic muscular dystrophy.

Lung-monitoring tests

In order to check the function of the lungs, these tests are needed.

Electromyography

This test can confirm the diagnosis of muscle disease by measuring the electrical activities when you are relaxed and when you tighten the muscle.

What are the treatment options available for muscular dystrophy?

There are treatments for muscular dystrophy which can include therapies, non-prescription options as well as prescription medications. There is no cure for this condition and the main objective of any type of treatment is to ease the symptoms of the disease. Let’s discuss the treatment options in detail.

Medications

Your physician may recommend some medications to treat your problems and the medications include

Corticosteroids

Prednisone and Emflaza are examples of corticosteroid medications. These drugs work by improving the strength of the muscle and the long use of these drugs is not recommended. Because it can lead to some serious side effects including

  • Weight gain
  • Weakened bones
  • Fracture risk

Exondys 51

This drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the young people who are suffering from the Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is considered as the first drug to treat this type. FDA approved this drug in the year 2016.

Golodirsen

Food and Drug Administration approved this drug in the year 2019 to treat the muscular dystrophy condition caused by the genes.

Heart Medications

If the condition is affecting your heart, then your physician may recommend taking ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers.

Surgery

Your physician may recommend surgery to treat scoliosis and cardiac problems. Surgery is also considered as the best option to correct the shortening of the muscles and to repair cataracts.

Therapy

Therapy can help a person who is suffering from muscular dystrophy to improve the quality of life. The main objective of any type of therapy is to make the person independent and to improve their coping and social skills. You can also strengthen your weakened muscles with the help of therapy.

Conclusion

Muscular dystrophy can lead to severe muscle loss and detecting the early signs of this condition is the first step to treating the disease. If a person is experiencing muscular dystrophy symptoms then it is advised to talk with the physician about what’s going on and they can review with the person who is affected by this condition about their family history and help them to determine what options are best for them.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29395989
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32403198
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32399949
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32399780
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27003751
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221367111400335X
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299132/
  8. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/02/10/peds.2014-2044
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