Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms

Muscular dystrophy symptoms are genetic disorders often associated with scoliosis, heart problems, and obesity.


Muscular dystrophy refers to a collection of genetic disorders that affects the muscles. It causes the muscles to become weak and loss some of its mass. Muscular dystrophy is associated with abnormal genes. The genes in this disorder have been missing or incorrect information. Muscular dystrophy symptoms may appear in infants or children. However, others may not know they have the disease until they reach adulthood. The symptom varies from one person to another and also depends on the type of disease. As the affected person grows older, the symptoms get worse and the muscle may eventually lose the ability to function well.

There are many diseases under muscular dystrophy. Becker muscular dystrophy as well as Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the most common forms of the disease. The two are similar in many ways, but they vary in severity. The symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy are more severe than Becker muscular dystrophy. Other forms of muscular dystrophy also exist.

Muscular dystrophy Diagnosis

The diagnosis of muscular dystrophy depends on the symptoms, physical examination, family history, and laboratory tests. Blood tests are done to check for creatine kinase levels in the blood. The blood level of these enzymes increases in as the muscles in the body deteriorate or is damaged. The deterioration and damage are one of the muscular dystrophy symptoms. Muscle biopsy may also be used to diagnose the disorder. In muscle biopsy, a small part of the muscle tissue is extracted and sent to a laboratory for examination. Chemicals are sometimes used to stain the muscles to aid in determining abnormalities in the muscle tissues. In muscular dystrophy, changes in the muscle tissue structure may be detected under the microscope.

Electromyogram is also often used in the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. In electromyogram, the muscle’s response to stimuli as well as the muscle’s electrical activity is being tested. This test will help confirm muscle weakness due to muscular dystrophy.Other tests for the disease may include genetic test, wherein the genes are being examined for any abnormalities or mutation.

Muscular dystrophy Symptoms According to Form

One of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy is Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The problem with this type is with the genes called dystrophin. Dystrophin is a protein that gives the muscles its strength and shape. The absence of this protein causes a breakdown of the muscles which eventually becomes weak. This type of muscular dystrophy commonly affects the males. Muscular dystrophy symptoms of this type appear at childhood. In most cases, the child may need the aid of a wheelchair after 6 to 10 years with the disease. The child should also have regular checkups with a cardiologist as this disease may affect the heart. The muscle that is responsible for breathing may get weak over time. The patient in this stage may need the help of a ventilator for breathing. Furthermore, the child may develop spinal abnormalities such as scoliosis. People affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy may not be able to survive the disease long enough to reach their teenage years.

Furthermore, a common form of muscular dystrophy is Becker muscular dystrophy. Similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, this type also affects the males. However, the symptoms may appear later and is less severe. Symptoms such as muscle weakness and breakdown often begin at the age of 10 or at early adulthood. People affected by this disease also experiences muscle, bone, heart, joint, and breathing problems. In most cases, people with Becker muscular dystrophy lives longer than patients with the Duchenne patients and most does not need the aid of a wheelchair. People with this form of muscular dystrophy lives vary depending on the symptom’s severity, especially with heart and lung problems.

Muscular Dystrophy Treatment

No known treatment exists for any type of muscular dystrophy. No type of surgery or medications can help cure the disease. The goal for the treatment of this disorder is to prevent deformities and to aid the patient to function independently. The treatment mainly depends on the symptoms of the disease.

Muscular dystrophy symptoms can be relieved in many ways. Physical therapy, exercise, surgery, respiratory care, and rehabilitative devices are often utilized to aid the patient to achieve independence and lessen the severity. Physical therapy and exercise help in minimizing painful and abnormal joint positioning. These may also delay or prevent the abnormal spine curvature caused by the disease. For patients suffering from walking disabilities, they can utilize assistive devices such as: canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. This devices help maintain the patient’s mobility when walking. Medications such as corticosteroids may be used to slow down the destruction of muscles. For patients with heart problems, cardiac medications may also be prescribed. The use of ventilators is also important for patients having breathing problems because of the disease.

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