Muscular dystrophy is a progressive drying and weakening of the muscles. There are several forms of this disease. Some of them are very rare and affect boys and girls. The most known and common form of this disease, and we will be talking about it in this article, is Duchenne muscular dystrophy (myopathy – pseudohypertrophic type), and it affects only boys. The disease begins in childhood (at the age of five or before) and, at first, it affects muscles of the shoulders, hips, thighs, and leaves. Over time, it expands on all the muscles causing rapid disability and immobility.
As with hemophilia, women may be ”carriers” of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But there are also cases that are not inherited.
The boy starts to waddling and walking on toes. It is difficult for him to climb up the stairs, he can easily fall and he is hard for him to stand up. It is hard, almost impossible, to raise the hands over the head. Affected muscles are sometimes higher than normal due to fatty tissue that replaces the loss of muscle tissue. In most cases limb and spine deformities occur, and in adolescence the boy is already wheelchair bound.
Since the patient can not move the thorax properly, it becomes more sensitive to severe chest infection.
What to do?
If you notice any symptoms we described, take your son to a doctor. Hostpital examinations will show whether or not the child is suffering from this disease or not. Every woman who has a dystrophic person in a family needs to consult a physician before planning offspring. If a woman-carrier gives birth to a boy, there are 50% chances that he will have this disease. However, the sex of a child can be determined at the beginning of the pregnancy (see amniocentesis) so, if the child is male, it is recommended to terminate the pregnancy.
So far no drug has been found against this disease. Deformations are alleviated by physical therapy, and the child will have to attend a school for physically undeveloped children. At the age of 20, the patient will most likely succumb to fatal lung infection.