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Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month

SEPTEMBER is Muscular Dystrophy awareness month, and we want to inform you what this disease is about.

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is not just one specific disease; instead it is a group of muscle diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system, making it difficult for one to move freely. Most types of muscular dystrophy are multi-system disorders which affect body systems including the heart, nervous systems, endocrine glands, skin, eyes, as well as other organs.

Medical experts explain that muscular dystrophy is a recessive, sex-linked disease, meaning that females who inherit the defective gene will not usually develop the disease, but are carriers of it, so they can pass it on to the next generation, whereas affected males always inherit the gene for Duchenne (the most common form of muscular dystrophy).

Other forms of muscular dystrophy are; Becker muscular dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, Myotonic and Congenital muscular dystrophy. The difference between the various types of muscular dystrophy diseases is the age it is developed, the awareness of the symptoms and the severity of the disease.

Being a hereditary disease, there is no way to prevent muscular dystrophy and unfortunately there is no cure, but once diagnosed, it can be treated with physical therapy and exercise to stop the muscles from tightening around a joint.

Initial symptoms include; progressive weakening of muscles, enlargement of muscles as they weaken, clumsiness, as well as frequent falling and difficulty getting up, while the later symptoms are; severe muscle deterioration, usually leading to use of a wheelchair, distortion of the body, severe muscle contraction, muscle stiffening and difficulty breathing.

Because muscular dystrophy weakens the muscles, people who are infected with the disease can gradually lose the ability to do things that most people take for granted every day; simple things such as walking, or even sitting up without assistance.

People with muscular dystrophy disease reportedly often start to feel cut off from friends and family as they cannot participate in all the same activities. If you know someone with muscular dystrophy disease, plan activities with them that they can participate in, such as playing board games or having a movie night. They are still the same person – just more limited in movement.

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