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Guide by Condition: Muscular Dystrophy

Posted by Mike Phipps on December 10, 2018

Understanding and living with Muscular Dystrophy

Guide By Condition: Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy is an inherited, genetic condition which progressives over time. Although there is currently no cure, the right treatment, support and mobility aids can help to manage symptoms and problems.

What is muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy, also abbreviated to MD, refers to a group of diseases which cause the loss of muscle mass and the gradual weakening of the muscles. The progressive condition can lead to disability, depending on the intensity of the symptoms which range from mild to severe, and there are many different types of MD, such as:

  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Becker's muscular dystrophy
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Oculopharyngeal dystrophy
  • Mitochondrial myopathies
  • The limb-girdle muscular dystrophies
  • Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • Distal muscular dystrophy

The different types of muscular dystrophy can affect different muscles in different ways for individuals living with the condition, which is thought to be inherited or sometimes just developed at random.

What causes muscular dystrophy?

For the majority of individuals living with the condition, MD is caused by the mutation and damage of certain genes in the body which are responsible for healthy muscle structure. By becoming damaged, these genes cannot protect the muscles, causing them to become weakened.

Support and treatment for muscular dystrophy

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it can affect everyday life in different ways. For example, individuals living with Duchenne MD - which is the most common type of MD - will usually be affected more, as it is more severe, whilst facioscapulohumeral MD is slower at progressing and less severe.

Although there is no cure for muscular dystrophy, there are ideal treatments and therapies that can help make life easier. Physiotherapy can be used to help keep the joints and body mobile, whilst exercise is a great way of keeping the muscles strong. Medication such as steroids can help maintain strength with certain kinds of MD, and in some cases, surgery may be needed to correct postural deformities like scoliosis. Support groups are an effective way of dealing with the practical and emotional impact of MD, and mobility aids can also be useful for different types of MD.

MD has many different symptoms, but fortunately, the right mobility aid can make the world of a difference. For individuals struggling to bathe due to weakened muscles, a bath lift is a great invention that prevents the need to climb into and out of the bath, whilst a shower chair helps the individual to remain comfortable without having to stand up in the shower. Similarly, to provide help with dressing, our range of dressing aids make everyday tasks much easier whilst prolonging independent living. As muscular dystrophy can lead to disability, a mobility aid can help make moving around easier. Choose from a wide variety of walking sticks, crutches, wheelchairs, and rollators which can help to provide support and stability when out and about.

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