Muscular Dystrophy

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Overview: Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a rare, progressive disease relating to the weakening of skeletal muscles. There are more than 30 types of muscular dystrophy that are further divided into nine categories. Duchenne MD is the most common and acute form of this condition that accounts for 50% of all the cases. Duchenne MD (DMD) is most prevalent in males, between the ages of 3 and 5 (Norwood, FL, et al. 2009). This X-linked disease occurs for 1 in every 3,500 males, which results in confinement to a wheelchair (Blake et al., 2002). Becker MD (BMD) is a less severe type of this condition. A study conducted in the United Kingdom by Bushby, Thambyayah and Gardner-Medwin, the incidence of Becker MD was estimated to be 1 in 18,450 males at birth …show more content…

Therefore, individuals that suffer from DMD will usually die in their early 20s, due to infection, heart and/or respiratory difficulties (Blake et al., 2002). During 1961-1982, data was collected on 473 Dutch Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. By studying this data, it was shown that the median survival was 19.4 years for patients that have already passed the age of 10 years old. About 23.6% of individuals survived 23.3 years at the minimum. On average, patients died 7.9 years after becoming immobile (Essen et al.) DMD can be detected shortly after birth by examining the amount of serum creatine kinase (CK) activity within the infant. Although, diagnosis is usually made during 3 to 8 years (Jennekens FG, et al. 1991). The symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy typically appear between the ages of two and three. The symptoms include falling frequently, increased clumsiness, walking on the toes, stiffness and weakness in the muscles, mental impairment, learning disabilities and …show more content…

In 1986, researchers found a gene which causes muscular dystrophy when defective. The disease arises when the gene fails to produce a protein called dystrophin. Most of the disease is inherited from the X chromosome from mothers to their sons, even though they themselves are not affected by the disease. Currently, there is no complete or effective therapy for muscular dystrophy, however there are certain treatments that provide relieve in their symptoms and improve quality of life. Surgery would not be ideal for this condition due to the extensive time the patient is spent being immobile (Emery, 2002). Although it may slightly increase their life expectancy and lung functioning, it does not increase the strength of the skeletal muscles (Beytia, Vry and Kirschner, 2012). The recommended treatment option is the use of corticosteroid drugs, which improves muscle functioning and slows down the rate of muscle deterioration. Moreover, physical therapy is also available to help strengthen muscles and maintain their range of movement (Martell 2012). Corticosteroids have various side effects ranging from mild to serious. The side effects of using corticosteroid drugs include causing sodium and fluid to be retained in the body, thus leading to weight gain or swelling of the legs (edema), loss of potassium, muscle weakness, puffiness of the face, increase of facial hair growth, acne, slow wound healing,

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