Featured Condition/Disease: Muscular Dystrophy

We are featuring a childhood/infant disease or condition informational post every other Friday.  Today's topic is Muscular Dystrophy.


Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a degenerative disease in which the muscles of the body get weaker and weaker and slowly stop working. Degenerative means the condition worsens slowly over time. Your child's muscles need many different kinds of proteins to stay healthy. When you hear the word "protein" you might think of such food as meat and peanut butter that contain protein. Your body also makes proteins, and your genes tell your body how to make proteins your muscles need. Children with muscular dystrophy have genes that have the wrong information or leave out important information, so the body can't make these proteins properly. Without these proteins, the muscles break down and weaken over time. As this happens to muscles, children with muscular dystrophy begin to have problems with the way their bodies work.


Among the nine types of muscular dystrophy, seven affect children. The seven types are:

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: The protein dystrophin helps to keep muscle cells whole and healthy. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy happens when this protein is missing. It usually begins in early childhood (between the ages of 2 to 6). Duchenne eventually affects the heart and breathing muscles. Children with this kind of Muscular Dystrophy don't usually live beyond the early 30s.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy: This form of MD also happens when the body does not make enough of the protein dystrophin. It is very similar to Duchenne MD but often less severe. Many children with this type of MD have heart problems. Children with Becker's MD though usually live to middle age older.

Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy: This type is caused by a sudden change in the genes that produce proteins in the muscle cells. Each cell has a nucleus surrounded by a membrane where the proteins are suddenly changed. It usually begins by age 10. This type of MD progresses slowly. Heart complications are common.

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy: This type is caused by a change in any one of a possible 15 genes that affect proteins the body needs for muscles to work. The beginning of this form of MD can occur anytime during childhood through adulthood. Limb-Girdle usually progresses slowly.

Faciosapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy: It is usually diagnosed by age 20. Faciosapulohumeral MD usually progresses slowly with some periods when the muscles worsen rapidly. It is caused by a missing DNA on chromosome 4. DNA is a necessary component of all living matter and a basic material in the chromosomes.

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy: The disease appears at birth in one form, but another form begins in teen or adult years. The progress of changes in how the muscles work can last 50 to 60 years. It is caused by a repeated section of DNA on either Chromosome 3 or 19. DNA is a necessary component in all living matter.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy: It is caused by changes affecting some of the proteins needed by muscles and can affect the eyes and brain. The disease begins at or very near birth. Sometimes this type progresses slowly, but still can cause a shortened life span.

More Information

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*Most of the information provided here is from the Teach More/Love More site, click here to visit their site.

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