A genetic disorder that predominantly affects children, muscular dystrophy results in weakening of muscles at a progressive rate. Boys are more easily prone to contract this disease than girls. Although muscular movement is predominantly affected, in extreme cases, the muscles supporting the heart walls and certain vital organs could also be affected, leading to secondary complications.
There are nearly nine different types of muscular dystrophy observed in humans. The signs and symptoms differ depending on the type of dystrophy observed. While children are predominantly susceptible to Duchenne dystrophy, adults suffer from myotonic dystrophy.
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Symptoms of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
If your child is suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the signs and symptoms will become apparent as soon as the child starts walking around the age of 3 years or more.
If the child repeatedly falls down while walking and has a decreased stability, you need to take him/her to the doctor immediately.
1. Problems in Climbing Stairs
The child will also find it difficult to climb stairs independently and might look for an external support whereas other kids of his/her age might have no problems in climbing the staircases many times over.
2. Difficulty in Moving Around
If you notice your child is finding it extremely difficult to stand and sit on his/her own with increased incidences of fatigue and weakness, he/she could be suffering from muscular dystrophy. Additionally, the child will not be active in any type of sports or physical activity unlike his/her counterparts who like running around.
3. Other Symptoms
Enlarged calf muscles, an unbalanced gait and delay in walking should be a cause of concern.
4. Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
This type of muscular dystrophy affects adults and can have an adverse effect on the person’s ability to perform his/her daily activities. Listed below are four common symptoms of muscular dystrophy observed in adults:
5. Difficulty in Speech
Some children might find it very difficult to speak properly. The pronunciations of certain words and letters might be unusually difficult and would sound incoherent.
Apart from having speech problems, the affected person might also complain about not being able to swallow food or water properly due to decreased functioning of the muscles in the throat region.
6. Delayed Relaxation of Muscles
In healthy individuals, the contraction and relaxation of muscles occurs in quick succession, helping the muscles regain their original status in a matter of seconds. In people suffering from muscular dystrophy, the contracted muscles will take an unusually long time to relax, making it difficult for the person to move that particular muscle for prolonged periods of time. This will directly hamper his/her motor skills. Pain and discomfort in the affected region becomes inevitable.
7. Heart Abnormalities
Mostly seen in early adulthood, the muscles surrounding the heart walls and vessels will begin to weaken at a steady rate. When this occurs, the person’s cardiovascular system will get affected directly, leading to decreased blood pumping capacitates. This decrease in blood supply will have a direct effect on vital organs and tissues all over the body, leading to several health complications.
Other symptoms of muscular dystrophy in adults include difficulty in breathing, respiratory complications and cataracts.