Muscular Dystrophy

by Lada and Esther

What is it?

Muscular Dystrophy is a condition that weakens and damages muscles. It is commonly found in males, but certain types may affect females as well. There are 9 major types of Muscular Dystrophy, with the two most common being Myotonic and Duchenne.

Myotonic (MMD) is mostly found in adults, but can also affect children. It is found in both males and females. On the other hand, Duchenne is found mainly in male children, usually between the ages 2 and 6. The only 7 kinds of Muscular Dystrophy are Beckle, Limb-Gridle, Facopscapulohumeral, Congenital, Oculopharyngeal, Dystal, and Emery-Dreifuss

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Causes and Risks

Muscular Dystrophy is a hereditary disease that is passed through a sex-linked disorder caused by a defective gene on the X chromosome. But it can also be caused by a mutation that develops over time.

Because of this, males are more at risk to getting this disease because they have only one X chromosome.

Symptoms of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Symptoms of this type of Muscular dystrophy are usually seen in children between ages 2 and 6 years old, and is most commonly seen in males, it is very rare for it to be seen in females.

  • Symptoms include:
    • frequent falls
    • difficulty getting up
    • trouble running
    • muscles pain and stiffness
    • learning disability
    • muscles seem to be larger, yet are actually getting weaker
    • decreased life expectancy (usually late teens to early twenties)

Symptoms of Myotonic Muscular dystrophy

This form of muscular dystrophy is most commonly found in adults, it is not commonly found in children. It can affect both males and females.

Symptoms include:

  • mytonia - prolonged spasm or stiffening of muscles after use
  • muscle weakness
  • inability to relax muscles
  • affect on the central nervous system, heart, gastrointestinal tract, eyes and hormone producing glands
  • decreased life expectancy

Treatment

Currently, there is no full treatment for Muscular Dystrophy. There are numerous ways to help with the ease. You can do Physical Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Corrective Surgery and Drug Therapy.
Physical Therapy: Helps keep the muscles strong

Respiratory Therapy: Helps with respiratory strength, if not treated early, it may lead to use of ventilation.

Speech Therapy: Helps control speech so facial muscles can relax

Occupational Therapy: Helps teach patients how to use wheelchairs and other equipment. It also helps them relearn their abilities that they may have lost due to MD.

Corrective Surgery: Used to help insert certain equipment into the patient to help them live longer, such as pacemakers to help the heart.

Drug Therapy: Used to slow down MD, many different types of medications are available, depending on the type of disease.

Tests/Diagnosis

Muscle dystrophy is diagnosed through medical exams. The 6 tests usually used to diagnose are muscle biopsy, DNA tests, Blood enzyme test, Electromyography test, Heart-monitoring test and a lung monitoring test

Other

Long term affects

Long term affects of muscular dystrophy include:

  • inability to walk
  • breathing problems (may eventually need breathing assistance)
  • Scoliosis (curved spine)
  • Heart problems


Transmission

Muscular Dystrophy cannot be transmitted

Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary disease that is carried on the X-chromosome. Therefore women are usually only carriers while not actually having the disease. Yet some forms are caused by mutations, that can be affecting a person over time.