What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is a group of muscle diseases that cause the skeletal muscles to become weaker. Other forms of muscular dystrophy also affect involuntary muscles, including the heart. Symptoms vary depending on the disease and its severity.

Who gets Muscular Dystrophy?

The muscular dystrophies are genetic diseases, meaning that one or both parents may carry the defective gene in order to pass it on to their child. It is possible for the parents to not have muscular dystrophy even if they carry the gene. Further, about 10% of patients may have new mutations (gene defects) not inherited from either parent.

How is Muscular Dystrophy diagnosed?

After taking the patient's history, a physician may perform a blood test, a muscle biopsy, or an EMG and nerve conduction tests. Genetic testing can also be used.

How is Muscular Dystrophy treated?

There is no cure for the muscular dystrophies, so treatment is aimed at helping the symptoms. Physical therapy and orthopedic devices can be helpful for the muscles. Some medication can also be used, depending on the type of muscular dystrophy.

More Information

Cure CMD
Mayo Clinic
Medline Plus
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Hereditary Disease Foundation 

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