The most common types of muscular dystrophy are due to a genetic defect in the synthesis of dystrophin, a healthy muscle protein. A deficiency or lack of dystrophin causes your muscles to break down. Which in turn causes them to gradually weaken and atrophy.
Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy is the most common type affecting children, and occurs most often in young boys. Other major types of muscular dystrophy are:
- distal muscular dystrophy
- Becker’s muscular dystrophy
- congenital muscular dystrophy
- limb-girdle muscular dystrophy
- Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
- oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy
- myotonic dystrophy, aka Steinert’s disease
- facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, aka Landouzy-Dejerine dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy can affect adults, yet the more severe forms have a tendency to occur during early childhood.
Muscle weakness and atrophy are common major symptoms of muscular dystrophy. Other symptoms vary depending on the type of muscular dystrophy you have.
Also, the location, age of onset and how fast symptoms progress differ as well. And all your muscles may be afflicted or only specific muscle groups.
Generally, muscular dystrophy worsens over time and you may experience symptoms like:
- loss of mobility
- muscle atrophy
- joint contracture
- muscle weakness
- lack of coordination
- progressive crippling
There’s no cure for muscular dystrophy, but medications, physical therapy, assisting devices and surgery can help slow your course toward immobility. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.