Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a worse form of a muscular dystrophy. This type of muscular dystrophy worsens rapidly as compared to the other muscular dystrophies like Becker’s muscular dystrophy. The Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by, a defective gene that is responsible for production of dystrophin, a protein found in the muscles. This is usually seen to occur in people who generally have a family hereditary condition. The way in which the disease is caused there are more men likely to inherit it and develop symptoms as compare to the women. Since the condition is hereditary it can be approximated that 1 out of every 3,600 male infants suffer from this syndrome.
The symptoms of this condition are seen to appear before the child reaches the age of 6. These symptoms might include:
• Severe feeling of fatigue.
• An incidence of mental retardation, which is a possibility but does not worsen with time.
• Muscle weakness. This occurs more severely in the pelvis and legs and is also seen to affect the arms, neck and other parts of the body.
• The patient can find difficulty in carrying out activities that involve motor skills like jumping, hopping and running and hence he or she tends to fall frequently.
• The chills might have an awkward manner of walking, running or stepping. The patient tends to walk on the forefoot because of the increase in calf tonus.
• There is an increase in the lumbar lordosis that leads to shortening of the hip-flexor muscles and hence affects the overall posture of the patient.
• As a result of muscle fiber shortening and fibrosis in the connective tissue there can be increased muscle contractions and impaired functioning of the muscles.
• Deformity in the muscle fiber.
• There can also be an enlarging of the calf muscles and tongue. The enlarged muscle tissue is gradually replaced by fat and connective tissues.
• The weakness worsens rapidly.
• There can be an increased risk of learning disability and behavioral problems because of adjusting to muscle fatigue.
• There can also be skeletal deformities.
• There is also a progressive difficulty in walking and the ability of walking can be lost by the time the child reaches the age of 12.
• It is observed that by the age of 10 the child needs support for walking and by 12 the child might get confined to the wheelchair.
There are a number of tests that can be conducted for diagnosing the condition. Some of these tests include Creatine kinase (CPK-MM) levels, observations of Gower’s sign, conducting an electromyography, genetic tests and a muscle biopsy. Until today there has no cure that been developed for treating the Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but researches have indicated that stem cell therapy can help replace the damage muscle tissue. Some medicines and physiotherapy however can alleviate the condition of the patient and relieve some of the symptoms. A proper physical therapy treatment can help minimize the contractors and deformities. Consult your physician for further assistance.