Types of Muscular Dystrophy Disease

Many studies in the medical field claim that there are more than thirty types of muscular dystrophy, and each one differs from the others based on a number of factors such as the following.

  • The genes that trigger muscular dystrophy
  • The muscles that are affected by the health condition
  • The speed of symptomatic regression
  • The age when the symptoms appear for the first time

One of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy disease is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy or DMD for short. Even though this disease can affect girls as well, boys are more prone to be carriers. In addition, the chances to develop DMD are more if you have a family history of this disease. If you have none, it is likelier to be caused because of spontaneous gene mutation, in which the gene responsible for maintaining muscular health is subjected to abnormal changes all of a sudden. Some of the common symptoms of DMD are listed below.

  • Frequent falls
  • Waddling gait
  • Muscular pain and stiffness
  • Difficulty rising from a position
  • Large calf muscles
  • Learning disabilities

Another form of muscular dystrophy that is common in people is Becker Muscular Dystrophy or BMD. The symptoms of this health condition are almost the same as those of DMD. They do, however, tend to progress slowly and stay milder when compared to DMD. Usually, the symptoms of BMD occur for the first time in people who are in their mid-twenties or older ages. Some other forms of muscular dystrophy disease are listed below.

  • Myotonic muscular dystrophy
  • Congenital muscular dystrophy
  • Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophy
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • Distal muscular dystrophy
  • Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy
  • Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy

Diagnosis and Treatment

The first thing your doctor is likely to do in order to confirm muscular dystrophy in your child is to conduct a thorough physical exam of different parts of his or her body. The physician may also ask about the medical history of your family as well as the type of symptoms your child is showing. Further, a number of tests will be conducted in order to duly diagnose the disease as well as to figure out the cause of muscular dystrophy. Common tests include blood tests, electromyography, muscle biopsy, tests of reflexes and muscular strength, electrocardiogram, imaging tests, enzyme tests, lung monitoring tests, etc.

When it comes to treatment, there is no proper cure for muscular dystrophy. Still, medications such as eteplirsen, corticosteroids, angiotensin-converting enzyme, etc can slow down the course of the disease. Physical and occupation therapies, surgical procedures, etc, can prove in managing the symptoms.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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