What Makes Muscular Dystrophy Such a Debilitating Medical Condition?
Muscular Dystrophy is a family of disorders characterized by the severe degeneration of muscle tissue.
The major problem with MD is that over time, it weakens the muscles. Because of this children, teens and adults who have been diagnosed with the disease will gradually lose their ability to do most of the things that we usually take for granted, such as: walking around, standing or sitting up.
The muscle problems can affect a baby or the symptoms might begin later in life and it is not uncommon for adults to develop the disease.
Muscular Dystrophy is not just one disease. The term refers to a group of genetic or hereditary disorders that destroy the muscles and that vary from the age of onset, the muscles that initially attacked and the rate the disease progresses.
The types of Muscular Dystrophy are specifically classified according to the location or group of the muscles that are involved, the age when symptoms appear, the rate that the symptoms actually progress and the manner in which the defective gene is passed on.
The symptoms and the prognosis can vary, depending on the type. The disease may affect some of the muscles or even all muscles, it may develop during sometime during childhood or even adulthood, it can progress either very gradually or rapidly and may or may not be severely disabling.
All of the types of Muscular dystrophy have one common problem and that is the progressive weakness and wasting of the body's muscles.
It is characterized by the progressive wasting and weakening of healthy muscle tissue and is replaced by useless fat and hard fibrous tissue. The disease is considered largely hereditary.
Muscular dystrophy is different from diseases such as multiple sclerosis in that it attacks the muscles themselves. This means a lack of muscle protein and the eventual death of muscle cells and tissues.
With MD, the nerves function properly and send all the necessary signals, but because the muscles themselves are damaged, they will not obey those instructions from the nerves and so mobility is limited.
Those with muscular dystrophy can also have their actual growth affected.
The muscles need to stretch and grow as the bones grow but often they are damaged to the point where they are not growing as the child does. This can cause pain and continued weakness.
There are many forms of muscle disease that are actually classified as muscular dystrophy.
Some affect only children, others affect only certain muscle groups and others are marked by how quickly they progress. Most affect more than just the muscle groups themselves, but may also touch on the heart, eyes, skin, and other organs as well.
Treatment for the disease typically includes physical therapy to forcibly relax and stretch the muscles as they are not doing this on their own.
Being sedentary and inactive, even getting bed rest for prolonged periods of time, typically only make the disease worse.
It's important for those with muscular dystrophy to be sure that they are as physically active as they can possibly be and to always have their scheduled physical therapy.
Those with muscular dystrophy have different symptoms and various life expectancies as well.
Some who develop MD have only mild or moderate inconveniences throughout their life whereas others are severely limited in their mobility and need help with even everyday activities.
Most have a normal or average lifespan while the more severe cases may claim the lives of young children.
If you're concerned about the affects of this terrible disease, you can of course volunteer or become more involved in charities that address it.
Always consult your doctor before using trying any type of medication or treatment.