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Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy In A Child / Missionwalk

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder causing weakness in a child’s muscles. It is an inherited muscle disease that makes muscle loss and weakness and worsens skeletal, heart, and lung muscles.

The average age of a DMD disease diagnosis is between 2 and 5 years old. The problem with muscle loss gets worse over time. Most DMD patients would use a wheelchair before they are teenagers, as the muscles they use for movement get damaged by the disease.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy can affect anyone and crosses all races and cultures. While there is no known cure for DMD, some patients can live into their 40s and 50s.

Duchenne muscular dystophy causes in young boys change in the genes (mutations) that make the important protein in muscle cells. This protein, called dystrophin, protects and stabilizes muscle fibers. Without dystrophin, the muscles are unable to function properly or repair themselves. The gene changes in a child’s body result in very little or no dystrophin at all. Without this protein dystrophin, the muscles weaken and become leaky and die.

If the gene can still produce dystrophin but not enough to sustain the health of the muscles, the condition is called Becker muscular dystrophy. In DMD, there is no dystrophin at all.

When DMD starts in young boys, the muscle weakness begins in the hips and thighs and spreads to the rest of the body, like the arms and other body parts, including the heart and lungs. The Duchenne muscular dystrophy symptoms in preschoolers may include the following:

  • leg pain
  • walking with short steps and a clumsy swaying motion (waddling)
  • enlarged calves
  • Gower’s sign, or using the hands to get up from squatting or sitting position
  • difficulty with running and jumping, and climbing stairs.

As the DMD disease becomes more serious, it can result in the following symptoms:

  • greater need for a wheelchair
  • broken bones from falling
  • Stiff joints that can’t move
  • scoliosis, or curving of the spine
  • fatigue (tiredness) and weakness
  • heart problems, like irregular heartbeat
  • breathing problems like shortness of breath

What is Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment? As mentioned, DMD cannot be cured, but the condition can be managed through supportive treatments that say there is hope for children with DMD disease. Here is some possible treatments:

  • steroid medicines, to help slow the loss of muscles
  • pacemakers or some other heart devices to help maintain a regular heartbeat
  • range of motion exercises to help the patient stay flexible and minimize joint contractures. Gentle exercises like those done in the pool are a good example.
  • breathing devices so the child gets enough air. Some DMD patients sleep at night with a breathing machine mask; a tracheostomy device may also be useful.
  • surgery to ease contractures or to treat scoliosis or curved spine. However, the problem with this is the risk of children with DMD disease with anaesthesia.

A child with DMD must try to stay in shape and continue using their muscles. Physiotherapy would greatly help genetic counselling, using splints and massages.

If you need help with Duchenne muscular dystrophy for your child, Mission Walk Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre is your best option. Get in touch with us today, either for more information or to schedule a consultation. Our customer service representatives will listen to every query of yours carefully and provide satisfactory solutions. Our medical experts will be happy to welcome your visit and speak with you about DMD disease. Both these categories of professionals who work with us are known to be the best in their respective fields, and our customer service staff are known to have tons of patience.

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