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What is muscular dystrophy?

September 19th, 2014 | Posted by corinne grace in Being Prepared

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic disease where muscle fibres are susceptible to damage and eventually weakens. Some individuals with muscular dystrophy are even required to use a wheelchair.

There are different kinds of muscle dystrophy and some symptoms manifest during childhood and common among boys, but other types of muscle dystrophy symptoms does not occur until adulthood.

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People with this kind of condition have difficulty breathing and swallowing. The limbs of these people are drawn inwards and fixed in that position, which is a problem known as contracture. Other types of muscle dystrophy affect the heart and other organs of the body.


Muscles weakness is the main characteristic of muscle dystrophy and each form varies in terms of age at which the sign and symptoms begins.

Muscular dystrophy

Muscles weakness is the main characteristic of muscle dystrophy and each form varies in terms of age at which the sign and symptoms begins.

Duchenne muscle dystrophy are common in boys and the signs and symptoms usually happens when the child begins to walk such as difficulty getting up from a lying position, difficulty running and jumping, child always falls, child has large calf muscles and has a learning incapacities.

Becker muscular dystrophy is similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy but milder and progresses at a slower rate. The symptoms occur during adolescence and can also occur even during mid-20s or later.

Other types of muscular dystrophy

  • It is known as Steinert’s disease which is the incapacity to ease the muscles. It occurs in early adulthood and the face is usually the first to be affected.
  • Limb-girdle. This type of muscular dystrophy affects the hip and shoulders and there is difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot.
  • This type of muscular dystrophy occurs at birth before reaching the age of 2.
  • This type of muscular dystrophy usually involves drooping eyelids, weakness of the eye muscles and difficulty in swallowing. These symptoms occur among individuals between their 40s and 50s.

Muscular dystrophy happens when there is a defect in one of the genes. Every form of muscular dystrophy can be caused by genetic mutation and some these mutations are inherited and some occurs in the mother’s egg or from the developing embryo.

Treatment of muscular dystrophy with physical therapy

  • The person should perform weight exercises in order to strengthen and improve the tone of the muscles.
  • Perform range of motion (ROM) and stretching to maintain flexibility and help minimize the severity of joint contractures. If you want to learn more about these exercises, click here.
  • Wear braces for the hands or legs in order to keep the tendons and muscles stretched and avoiding painful contractures.
  • Perform water exercises and swimming to help strengthen the muscles and joints without putting stress on the parts of body that is affected.
  • The goal of physical therapy is to provide the person independence by focusing on movement and developing large groups of muscles in order to make the body stronger and gain endurance.

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