What is muscular dystrophy?
Dystrophy means wasted away. Muscular dystrophies are a group of disorders passed down from a parent (inherited) in which muscles waste away.
People with muscular dystrophy inherited abnormal genes that control muscle development and function
The various types of muscular dystrophy affect different muscles
Affected muscles are weak
Sometimes the heart muscle or the muscles that control breathing are weak, which can be dangerous
Muscular dystrophy can't be cured, but physical therapy may help relieve symptoms
Types of muscular dystrophy include:
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy is the most common form of muscular dystrophy. The muscles of the face and shoulder are affected. Muscular dystrophies are a group of inherited muscle... read more : the most common type of muscular dystrophy—symptoms begin between ages 7 and 20 and include weakness of the face and shoulder muscles
Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Becker Muscular Dystrophy Muscular dystrophies are a group of inherited muscle disorders in which one or more genes needed for normal muscle structure and function are defective, leading to muscle weakness of varying... read more : the second most common type and the most severe—muscle weakness develops in childhood or teen years, nearly always in boys
Emery-Dreifuss dystrophy: this type affects the upper arms, lower legs, and often the heart (heart problems can cause sudden death)
Limb-girdle dystrophy: this type affects shoulder and hip muscles
There are other muscle disorders that can cause weakness, including:
Congenital myopathies Congenital Myopathies Congenital myopathies are rare, inherited disorders of the muscles that cause reduced muscle tone and weakness. These disorders are present at birth or show up during infancy. There are several... read more : a group of muscle problems that you’re born with or that show up when you’re an infant
Familial periodic paralysis Familial Periodic Paralysis Familial periodic paralysis is a rare inherited disorder that causes sudden attacks of weakness and paralysis. There are four different forms, which involve abnormalities in how electrolytes... read more : a rare disease that runs in families and leads to sudden attacks of weakness and paralysis (not being able to move part or all of your body)
Glycogen storage diseases Glycogen Storage Diseases Glycogen storage diseases are carbohydrate metabolism disorders that occur when there is a defect in the enzymes that are involved in the metabolism of glycogen, often resulting in growth abnormalities... read more : a group of rare diseases that run in families and lead to glycogen (a starch that comes from sugar) building up in your muscles
What causes muscular dystrophies?
Muscular dystrophies are caused by abnormal genes that are passed down from a parent. These abnormal genes affect the way muscles work.
What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophies?
Some types of muscular dystrophy cause symptoms starting in childhood. Other types cause symptoms that start later, in the teen years or adulthood.
Symptoms may include:
Paralysis (not being able to move part or all of your body)
Difficulty raising the arms
In children, a delay in learning to walk or difficulty running, jumping, or climbing stairs
How can doctors tell if I have muscular dystrophies?
Doctors suspect muscular dystrophies from your symptoms and family history. To know for sure, they'll do:
Muscle biopsy (doctors take a small piece of muscle to look at under a microscope)
How do doctors treat muscular dystrophies?
There is no cure. Doctors treat muscular dystrophies with:
Ankle or leg braces
Sometimes, people with muscular dystrophies need a pacemaker to control abnormal heart rhythms Overview of Abnormal Heart Rhythms Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood through your body. Your heart rate is how fast your heart beats. Your heart should always have a regular, rhythmic beat, like the ticking of a clock.... read more .