Friday, August 21, 2009

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is a physically disabling condition that affects the muscles. Muscular dystrophy affects both genders, all ages and occurs across all ethnic groups. The cause of most types of muscular dystrophy is genetic. There are around 60 different types of Muscular Dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions.Some of the main types of muscular dystrophy include:• Duchenne, • Becker, • Limb-girdle, • Facioscapulohumeral, • Oculopharyngeal, and • Myotonic dystrophyThese conditions are characterised by the loss of muscle strength, as progressive muscle wasting or nerve deterioration occurs. They are mainly inherited, can cause shortened life expectancy and there are currently no cures.The symptoms of muscular dystrophy, and their severity, will vary depending on the particular type of the condition that a person has, and how old they were when the symptoms first appeared.However, generally, muscular dystrophy causes the following symptoms:• difficulty walking, • clumsiness, • frequent falls, • difficulty standing, and • breathing problemsMost types of muscular dystrophy are very rare, with about 1 in 20,000 babies being born with the condition in the UK each year. Some types of muscular dystrophy, for example Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, are sex-linked, that is they only affect males.Symptoms of some disorders appear at birth or in young babies, but in other conditions symptoms may only start to show in childhood or even in adulthood. Some of these conditions can be very severely disabling and can have a marked impact on life expectancy, whereas others can be much milder. An estimated 30,000 adults and children in the UK have muscular dystrophy or one of the related neuromuscular conditions.Families, understandably, may feel that the most important thing is to ensure that their child has as an enjoyable life as possible. However, with careful planning, it is possible to ensure that a child’s time at school enhances their range of experiences and quality of life, leading to opportunities to enjoy a variety of activities and to develop friendships.--Written by Treloar’s school and college for physically disabled children and young people. Treloar Trust provides education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training to young people with physical disabilities from all over the UK and overseas. Our aim is to prepare these young people for adult life, giving them the confidence and skills to achieve their full potential. Find out more at

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