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What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of diseases, some of which are inherited, that cause a progressive loss or weakening of muscle mass in the body. This loss of muscular strength is typically due to a reduction or lack of proper levels of dystrophin, which is a protein responsible for normal muscle function, and its progression inevitably results in physical disabilities.

If you feel as though you might be suffering from a loss of muscular strength, we highly recommend you visit a Top Orthopedic Surgeon in Lahore, or one that’s more convenient for you.

MD is caused by mutations in the genes responsible for normal development and function of muscles in the body. There are many different types, and though each has similar symptoms, they also have slight differences.

Types of MD

Duchenne MD is one of the most common forms and usually affects young boys, but other variations also affect adults. People with this form of MD usually only live until their 20s or 30s. Its symptoms usually present themselves during early childhood and include frequent falling, delayed growth, difficulty in leaving a rest position or getting up from laying down, and issues with running. 

Becker MD has very similar symptoms to Duchenne MD, though they are much milder and appear later in childhood. The disease also does not seem to affect life expectancy as sharply as Duchenne MD does.

Facioscapulohumeral Dystrophy (FSHD) is characterised by protruding shoulder blades when arms are raised, and trouble closing one’s eyelids even while sleeping. The onset of the disease may occur at any age, but most commonly does during teenage years. 

Myotonic MD is the most common form of MD that arises during adult years and is characterised by an inability to fully relax muscles once they’ve been contracted. The face and neck are usually the first locations to be affected. Other symptoms include potential development of cataracts, and arrythmia.

Limb-girdle MD first affects the hips and shoulder muscles, and the onset usually begins in childhood or teenage years. People with this disease may have trouble lifting the front part of their feet, and may trip frequently.

Congenital MD affects both males and females equally and is normally apparent between birth and the age of 2. There are different forms, some of which cause only mild disability, while others cause severe impairment.

Oculopharyngeal MD affects adults between the ages of 40 and 70 years, and doesn’t tend to affect life expectance. It affects the eyelids, throat and face, followed by the shoulders and pelvis.

Treatment Options

There may not be a cure for MD, but there are multiple options you can consider to reduce the effects of the disease.

Corticosteroids can help strengthen muscles and slow the progression of the disease.

For cardiac problems, scoliosis or cataracts, surgery is a viable option. There are some medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that can directly help reduce heart problems caused by MD.

Apart from medication, physical therapy and aids can help reduce the impact that the disease has on your life:

  • Exercise such as regular walking and swimming can help maintain muscle strength and mobility. Range-of-motion exercises can also ensure that joints maintain their flexibility.
  • Braces can help keep muscles stretched and flexible, reducing the issue with irreversible contractions.
  • Mobility aids such as walking sticks and wheelchairs can help maintain your independence.

If you feel as though you may have muscular dystrophy, or your disease is progressing, you should visit a physician as soon as possible. We recommend you look into the Best Orthopedic Surgeon in Lahore.

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