What is muscular dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases, in which there is progressive weakness and damage of the voluntary muscles, over time. It is caused due to mutation in genes that interfere with the production of a protein, called dystrophin, which is responsible for maintaining normal functioning of the muscles.
There are various forms of muscular dystrophy, which can occur at any age. However, most common one begins during childhood, and boys are see to be more affected than girls. In other forms of the disease, heart and other parts of the body are also known to be affected. The severity and form of the disease is usually determined by the age at which it starts.
Muscular dystrophy may cause problems in walking, swallowing and proper muscular coordination. In some cases the symptoms could be mild, with slow progress, while others may experience severe muscle weakness and wasting very early, sometimes resulting into death in early 20s.
Muscular dystrophy is very difficult to cure, and in most of the cases management of symptoms is the only way of treatment.
There are certain genes, which are responsible for the production of a protein, known as dystrophin. These proteins protect the muscle fibres and help in normal functioning. In the case of muscular dystrophy, one of the genes is defective, that interferes with the production of dystrophin, leading to muscle weakness and wasting.
Gene mutations are particular for every kind of muscular dystrophy, and these genes are often inherited from one generation to another.
Sign and symptoms
The primary symptom of muscular dystrophy is muscle weakness and wasting. Depending upon the type and age at which disease begins, the part of the body affected, its sign and symptoms may vary.
Duchenne type muscular dystrophy
This is the most common type of muscular dystrophy, which mostly affects young boys. Sign and symptoms may present as-
- Difficulty in getting up from a lying or sitting position
- Easy and frequent falls
- Difficulty in running or jumping
- Waddling gait
- Waking on the toes
- Enlargement of calf muscles
- Muscular pain and stiffness
- Delayed growth
- Difficulty in learning
Becker muscular dystrophy
Sign and symptoms are very similar to duchenne muscular dystrophy, but the symptoms are milder as compared to it, and progresses slowly.
Some other types of muscular dystrophies and their symptoms
- Myotonic- In this the muscles fail to relax after contractions. Facial and neck muscles are mostly affected.
- Facioscapulohumeral(FSHD)- Face, shoulder and hip muscles are typically affected. The illness usually begins in teenage, but can also occur during childhood or as late as in 50s.
- Congenital- This form equally affects boys and girls, and is usually evident since birth, or start before the age of 2.
- Limb girdle- In this type hip and shoulder muscles are usually to begin with. Onset of this disease is usually in childhood or teenage.
Complications may include-
- Trouble in walking
- Difficulty in doing anything with arms
- Contracture of tendons or muscles around joints, that further increase the disability
- Difficulty in breathing
- Curving of the spine
- Problem in swallowing
For the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy, doctor will carefully investigate the medical history of the patient. For further confirmation, doctor may suggest tests like-
- Enzyme tests, to see the presence of creatine kinase, which increase due to muscle wasting
- Genetic testing to look for gene mutations
- Muscle biopsy
- Electrocardiography in myotonic muscle dystrophy
- Lung monitoring tests
Homeopathic approach in muscular dystrophy is similar as any other genetic disease. The medicine is chosen individually for the patient, on the basis of holistic approach of treatment. In this, the case taking is done carefully investigating the mental and spiritual symptoms, along with physical complaints.
Dr. Ashok Choudhary is a specialised homeopathic doctor for the cases of muscular dystrophy. The carefully chosen homeopathic medicines help manage the symptoms of muscular dystrophy, reducing the progress of muscular weakness and wasting.