Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited disorders that involve muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue, which get worse over time.
Muscular dystrophies, or MD, are a group of inherited conditions, which means they are passed down through families. They may occur in childhood or adulthood. There are many different types of muscular dystrophy. They include:
Becker muscular dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy
Symptoms vary with the different types of muscular dystrophy.
All of the muscles may be affected. Or, only specific groups of muscles may be affected, such as those around the pelvis, shoulder, or face. Muscular dystrophy can affect adults, but the more severe forms tend to occur in early childhood.
Mental retardation (only present in some types of the condition)
Muscle weakness that slowly gets worse
Delayed development of muscle motor skills
Difficulty using one or more muscle groups
Eyelid drooping (ptosis)
Loss of strength in a muscle or group of muscles as an adult
Loss in muscle size
Problems walking (delayed walking)
A physical examination and your medical history will help the doctor determine the type of muscular dystrophy. Specific muscle groups are affected by different types of muscular dystrophy.
The doctor’s exam may show:
Abnormally curved spine (scoliosis)
Joint contractures (clubfoot, clawhand, or others)
Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
Some types of muscular dystrophy involve the heart muscle, causing cardiomyopathy or disturbed heart rhythm (arrhythmias).
Often, there is a loss of muscle mass (wasting), which may be hard to see because some types of muscular dystrophy cause a buildup of fat and connective tissue that makes the muscle appear larger. This is called pseudohypertrophy.
There are no known cures for the various muscular dystrophies. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.
Physical therapy may help patients maintain muscle strength and function. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs can improve mobility and self-care abilities. In some cases, surgery on the spine or legs may help improve function.
Corticosteroids taken by mouth are sometimes prescribed to children to keep them walking for as long as possible.
The person should be as active as possible. Complete inactivity (such as bedrest) can make the disease worse.
The severity of disability depends on the type of muscular dystrophy. All types of muscular dystrophy slowly get worse, but how fast this happens varies widely.
Some types of muscular dystrophy, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, are deadly. Other types cause little disability and people with them have a normal lifespan.
Exquisitely detailed, intimate, psychologically and emotionally intense, Sally Mann: Proud Flesh engages territory most often inhabited by male artists portraying their wives and female lovers as Mann turns the camera to her husband of 39 years, Larry. Beautiful, textured, and provocative, these unprecedented nude studies neither objectify nor celebrate; rather, they go far under the skin to suggest a relationship between man and woman that is profoundly trusting: sensual, sexual, sometimes painful, often indescribably tender, and always unblinkingly honest.