Information sheet for Muscular Dystrophy

Information sheet for Muscular Dystrophy

Q. What is muscular dystrophy?


Ans. Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of more than 30 genetic diseases that cause
progressive weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscles. Muscular dystrophies are
progressive, and affected individuals eventually lose the ability to walk.

Q. What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?


Ans. The clinical feature varies according to the type of MD. Delayed attainment of walking,
recurrent falls, difficulty in climbing stairs and getting up from sitting posture are common
complaints. Often these children are clumsy while walking and not able to run as peers and
easily fatigued. Children with muscular dystrophy can have enlarged calf or pain in calf muscles.
Toe walking and foot deformities are common.

Q. What causes muscular dystrophy?


Ans. All muscular dystrophies are inherited disorders and involve a mutation in the genes that
program proteins critical to muscle integrity. Many muscular dystrophies are familial, meaning
there is other family members affected with the disease.

Q. How common is muscular dystrophy?


Ans. MD occurs worldwide, affecting all races. Its incidence varies, as some forms are more
common than others. It’s most common form in children, Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects
approximately 1 in every 3,500 to 6,000 boys.

Q. How does muscular dystrophy cause muscle weakness?


Ans. Our muscles are made up of thousands of muscle fibers. Each muscle fiber is an individual
muscle cell that contains several proteins involved muscle fiber contraction, relaxation and
membrane stabilization. Lack of a particular protein or dysfunctional protein leads to muscle
fiber damage. Because of ongoing muscle fibers damage, our muscles tend to get weak, thin and
short.

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