What is Muscular Dystrophy?
Muscular Dystrophy (abbreviated MD) refers to group of hereditary muscle diseases that weaken the muscles which move the human body. It is characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissues.
Types of Muscular Dystrophy
MD is of nine types, which include Duchenne, Becker, limb girdle, confenital, facioscapulohumeral, myotonic, oculopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss. Duchenne MD is the most common and severe form affecting children. It is a genetic defect leading to the formation of an abnormal type of muscle protein called dystrophin.
Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy
Progressive muscle degeneration, weakness, and loss of function in Duchenne’s MD, delayed development of basic muscle skills and coordination in children are the certain symptoms of muscular dystrophy.
Common signs include poor balance with frequent falls, waling difficulty with waddling gait and calf pain, limited range of movement, obesity, joint contractions, cataracts, frontal baldness, drooping eyelids, gonadal atrophy and mental impairment.
Diagnosis for Muscular Dystrophy
The diagnosis of MD is based upon a combination of a characteristic clinical presentation and the results of muscle biopsy
Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy
There is no specific treatment to prevent or cure halt MD. Physical therapy, exercise, orthopedic appliances (such as braces and wheelchairs), or corrective orthopedic surgery may help to preserve muscle function and prevent joint contractions as much as possible and improve quality of life. Steroids have been used to slow diseases progression, but do not effect the final outcome. Identification of the specific genes responsible for the various types of MD has led to extensive research on gene and molecular therapy, but all such treatments are still experimental