Duchenne muscular dystrophy

The most well-known type of muscular dystrophy is Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This condition is very heartbreaking as the life expectancy is not very long for people who have DMD. This is an inherited disease with the disorder located in the X-chromosome. The X-chromosome is one of two sex chromosomes. The other one is the Y chromosome. For a male to be born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy they must have one altered gene in each cell to cause the condition. A female born with it has to have the mutation both X. chromosomes. For this reason Duchenne muscular dystrophy is found to be more prevalent in males than in females. Two thirds of all male cases Duchenne muscular dystrophy inherited the mutated gene from the mother. Fewer females are born with DMD and have milder symptoms of it than males.

DMD is the most severe form of muscular dystrophy and is the most common form that affects children. It can appear suddenly or slowly in children and adults. However, Duchenne muscular dystrophy commonly affects boys between ages of two and five. One out of every 3600 male infants are born with DMD in the United States. This disease first affects the muscles in the upper arms, legs and pelvis. Some of the first symptoms of DMD include frequent falling, difficulty getting out from a sitting or lying down position, having large calf muscles, lower leg weakness which makes it difficult to run and jump. Children with DMD will also have a waddling gait and mild retardation is present in some cases. By the time the child enters late childhood are unable to walk when they have Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy ends up being fatal for those who are in their teens and who develop pneumonia or respiratory muscular weaknesses and cardiac complications. Usually children with this disease will be in a wheelchair by the time they’re 12 and will not live past the age of 20. Some children with DMD also have a curving of the spine which is called scoliosis.

The symptoms are a gradual and progressive muscle wasting and weakness. As the muscles begin to shut down it becomes harder and harder to function and get around. Children with this disease usually have symptoms that start off with weak legs and it works its way up to the pelvis to the point where a wheelchair is necessary because they can no longer walk. Some of the first signs of DMD may be a lack of coordination. Children who have trouble walking and falling frequently should be taken to the doctor for a medical exam. Many times the child will complain of pain in their calves. Some children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy have weight control problems, drooping eyelids and cataracts as well.

There is no cure yet for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Treatments for this disease involve controlling the symptoms and enhancing the quality of life as much as possible. More research is being done into DMD and gene therapy in the future may turn out to be beneficial. Many times an orthopedic appliance can help improve the ability for the child to stay physically active. These orthopedic appliances can include such things as leg braces and wheelchairs. Certain medications may be prescribed by the doctor to slow progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. These medications can help prevent muscle spasms deftness and weakness. Other medications such as anti-inflammatory prednisone can help delay the progression of DMD. Immunosuppressive drugs can also be use to delay damage done to dying muscle cells.

Last updated on Apr 27th, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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