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20 May 2014

What Are the Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy?

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Muscular dystrophy is category that includes a variety of inherited conditions. What they share in common is a progressive weakening of the body’s muscles.

The different types of muscular dystrophy have their own unique symptoms that also overlap. Muscular dystrophy leads to significant loss of function and can be challenging for those people who have to go through the process of the disease.

Muscular Dystrophy

With muscular dystrophy, specific muscles can be affected. Children have been observed to have more severe forms of muscular dystrophy. Common symptoms include a loss of intellectual ability and muscle weakness.

Children who fall frequently or have difficulty running can indicate the presence of the disease. As muscles become weaker, the development of motor skills can be inhibited along with a loss of muscle density.

Types of Muscular Dystrophy

Because Muscular Dystrophy has many different types, the symptoms of each can vary.

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy primarily affects boys. When it does occur in females, the symptoms have a tendency to be less severe.
    Common symptoms include a late onset of speech, difficulty climbing stairs, and behavioural and learning challenges.
  • Myotonic dystrophy affects smaller muscles of the face and neck. The condition leads to the wasting and weakening of muscles and appears at any point in life. Both males and females can be equally affected by myotonic dystrophy.
    Symptoms can include stiff muscles, difficulty swallowing, cataracts, and cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy also affects both males and females. However, it has been observed that men are often affected early in life with more severe symptoms.
    Symptoms in young children can appear as difficulty in closing their eyes completely, or the inability to close their eyes when sleeping.
    Shoulder pain and weakness in the muscles of the upper arms calves, and face are also symptoms of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.
  • Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy does not usually appear until later in life. Symptoms appear between ages of 50 and 60 years old and affect the muscle activity of the eyes and throat.
    Over time, movement of the eyes becomes limited and eyelids can become droopy, causing the vision to be impaired.

Understanding the symptoms of muscular dystrophy can help you detect any abnormal functions in you or your loved ones. Because many forms of the disease begin in childhood, it can be a valuable way to address any problems early. If you notice any excessive symptoms that might indicate the presence of muscular dystrophy, refer to a specialist as soon as you can.

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