Muscular dystrophy is a term used to describe the slow weakening or wasting of muscles. What occurs in muscular dystrophy is that certain gene mutations or gene abnormalities are interfering with the production of proteins that are an essential part of building healthy muscles.
Muscular dystrophy or MD is a progressive or chronic disorder. Which means it can get worse over time. Usually, the condition will affect a particular group of muscles before affected muscles on a wider scale. There are types of MD that can affect the muscles of the heart or muscles used for breathing; in this case, the condition can become life-threatening.
There is no cure for MD, but there are treatments that can help the individual manage many of the symptoms.
The abnormalities on the genes can cause changes in the fibers of the muscles; this will in return affect the muscles’ ability to function. This will lead to a progressive disability.
The abnormal genes or mutated genes are inherited from the affected individual’s parents. It the disorder runs in the family, you may be referred by your doctor for genetic testing and counseling. This is to evaluate your chances of inheriting the disease and to discuss the options available for you.
There are several types of muscular dystrophy. Each form has different symptoms and prognosis. The types of MD include:
Duchenne MD – this type is considered by experts as the most common and can be very severe. It usually affects boys at a very early age. Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition, especially males have a life expectancy of the 20s or 30s.
Myotonic dystrophy – This form of MD can affect people at any age. However, individuals with a severe form of myotonic dystrophy may have shortened lives.
Facioscapulohumeral MD – This is another form of MD that is not life-threatening and progresses slowly. It can affect individuals of any age.
Becker MD – is closely associated with Duchenne MD, but develops later in childhood and is less severe.
Limb-girdle MD – a group of disorders that develops in late childhood or early adulthood, some of its types can progress quickly others can develop slowly.
Oculopharyngeal MD – Usually affects 50-60 years old individuals and doesn’t affect life expectancy.
Emery-Dreifuss MD – Most individuals with this disorder will live until middle age.
If you think you are suffering from Muscular Dystrophy you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Muscular Dystrophy as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).