What is muscular dystrophy?


Know the basics

What is muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of more than 30 inherited muscle diseases that make muscles, mostly voluntary muscles, slowly become weaker. People have trouble walking or sitting up.  There are many different kinds of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms of the most common variety begin in childhood, primarily in boys. Other types don’t surface until adulthood. Some common muscular dystrophy include:

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) The most common form, the majority of patients will not have the ability to walk at the age of 12 and requires respiratory aids.
  • Landouzy-dejerine muscular dystrophy facial muscles, thighs, arms and legs weakening. It progresses slowly and can develop from mild to severe (paralysis).
  • Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy – MMD

How common is muscular dystrophy?

Metatarsalgia is common in those who use excessive foot. The disease can occur in any ages. You can  minimized the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?

Symptoms vary among the different types of muscular dystrophy. All of the muscles may be affected. Or, only specific groups of muscles may be affected, such as those around the pelvis, shoulder, or face. Symptoms may include:

  • Muscle weakness that slowly gets worse, trouble walking, and moving.
  • Frequent falls
  • Drooling
  • Large calf muscles
  • Mental retardation occurs in some types of MD.
  • Eyelid drooping (ptosis)

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Call your doctor or go to a hospital if the symptoms are not reduced or prolonged. In addition, you should also tell your doctor if you have family members who are muscular dystrophy to have proper diagnostic methods. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes muscular dystrophy?

Certain genes are involved in making proteins that protect muscle fibers from damage. Muscular dystrophy occurs when one of these genes is defective.

Each form of muscular dystrophy is caused by a genetic mutation particular to that type of the disease. Many of these mutations are inherited. But some occur spontaneously in the mother’s egg or the developing embryo and can be passed on to the next generation

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for muscular dystrophy?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing muscular dystrophy.

  • Age and gender: Duchenne muscular dystrophy commonly occurs in boys.
  • Family history: if the family has had dystrophic muscles, you also have the possibility of suffering from this disease.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is muscular dystrophy diagnosed?

The doctor does a physical examination and takes a medical history. The doctor also orders electromyography (EMG), ultrasonography, and electrocardiography (ECG). EMG helps measure how well nerves and muscles work. Other studies include genetic testing and blood tests for enzymes such as creatine kinase (CK).

How is muscular dystrophy treated?

There are no known cures for the various muscular dystrophies. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery on the spine or legs (in some cases)
  • Using braces, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs can help mobility and independence.
  • Corticosteroids taken by mouth are sometimes prescribed to children with certain muscular dystrophies to keep them walking for as long as possible.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage muscular dystrophy?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with muscular dystrophy:

  • become as active as possible. Complete inactivity (such as bedrest) can make the disease worse.
  • have a high-fiber, high-protein, low-calorie diet.
  • learn as much as you can about MD and what to do about it.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: December 3, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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