Muscular Dystrophy is not a single disease but a group of hereditary muscle destroying disorders. There are more than 30 types of these disorders, vary in their inheritance pattern, rate of progression, initial muscle attacked and age of onset.
The skeletal muscles are the main group of muscles affected in this disorder. The skeletal muscles are used during the voluntary body movements. There is progressive weakness and degeneration of these group of muscles.
The disease may occur in adulthood or childhood, but the more severe form tends to occur in early childhood.
It is an inherited disorder, means it is passed down through generations in a family. Many cases occur from spontaneous mutation, that are not found in genes of either of the parent, and this defect can be passed to next generation.
The diagnosis is based on the combination of characteristic clinical presentation and the results of muscle biopsy.
It is not an incurable disorder, rather a genetic disorder for which no satisfactory treatment has been found in any system of medicine.
Progressive loss of muscle mass is primarily responsible for reduced quality and length of life. The drug treatment is based on slowing the process of muscle degeneration and thus improvement of the quality of life. Corticosteroids are known to extend the ability of these patients to walk, but have substantial side effects and their mechanism of action is unknown.
Inactivity (such as bed rest and sitting for long periods) can worsen the disease.
Physical therapy, exercises, orthopedic instruments (wheel chairs and standing frames), speech therapy and corrective orthopedic surgeries may help to preserve muscle function and prevent joint contractures.
Occupational therapy may be given as a supportive line of therapy for being self sufficient to do daily activities (self care, self feeding etc)