Muscular Dystrophy : Treatment

Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders that involve muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue that get worse over time.

Treatments

There are no known cures for the various muscular dystrophies. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.
(1) Physical therapy may help patients maintain muscle strength and function.
(2) Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs can improve mobility and self-care abilities.
(3) In some cases, surgery on the spine or legs may help improve function.
(4) Corticosteroids taken by mouth are sometimes prescribed to children to keep them walking for as long as possible.

NOTE: The person should be as active as possible. Complete inactivity (such as bed rest) can make the disease worse.

Complications

  1. Cardiomyopathy
  2. Decreased ability to care for self
  3. Decreased mobility
  4. Joint contractures
  5. Mental impairment (varies)
  6. Respiratory failure
  7. Scoliosis

Prevention

Genetic counseling is advised when there is a family history of muscular dystrophy. Women may have no symptoms but still carry the gene for the disorder. Duchenne muscular dystrophy can be detected with about 95% accuracy by genetic studies performed during pregnancy.

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