There is no cure for muscular dystrophy however researchers are swiftly learning more about how to avert and treat the disease. Physicians are furthermore working on improving muscle and joint function, and slowing muscle deterioration so that kids, teens, and adults with muscular dystrophy can live as energetically and independently as achievable.
Numerous children who have muscular dystrophy follow a normal pattern of development during their first few years of life. In time general symptoms begin to emerge. A child who has muscular dystrophy may start to stumble, have difficulty going up stairs, and toe walk. A toe walk is when a child will walk on their toes without the heals of their feet touching the ground. A child may start to struggle to get up from a sitting position or have a hard time pushing things, like a wagon or a tricycle. It is also frequent for a young child with muscular dystrophy to develop enlarged calf muscles, a circumstance called calf pseudohypertrophy. This happens when muscle tissue is damaged and is replaced by fat.
When a parent first suspects a child may have muscular dystrophy, they must take that child to their pediatrician as soon as possible. The physician will in all probability do a physical exam, look at the family medical history, and ask about any issues the child may be having, such as those affecting the muscles.
Additionally, the physician may carry out a series of tests to establish what type of muscular dystrophy a child may have and to rule out any other diseases that may be causing a problem. This may include a blood test to measure levels of serum creatine kinase, which is an enzyme that's released into the bloodstream when muscle fibers are weakening. Prominent levels of this enzyme point out that something is causing muscle damage.
The physician will most likely also conduct a blood test to check a child's DNA for gene abnormalities, or a muscle biopsy to examine a muscle tissue sample for patterns of deterioration and abnormal levels of dystrophin. Dystrophin is a protein that aids muscle cells to maintain their shape and length. Without dystrophin, the muscles will begin to deteriorate.
The diverse types of muscular dystrophy involve different sets of muscles and consequently will affect those muscles in varying degrees of weakness.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most widespread and the most brutal form of the disease. It affects about 1 out of every 3,500 boys. Girls can carry the gene that causes the syndrome, but they typically have no symptoms. In regards to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, symptoms generally start to show approximately at age five, as the pelvic muscles begin to weaken. The majority of children with this type of muscular dystrophy must use a wheelchair by age twelve. Over time, their muscles weaken in the shoulders, back, arms, and legs. In due course, the respiratory muscles are affected, and a ventilator is necessary to assist breathing. The life expectancy of a child with this form is age twenty.