Muscular dystrophies are a group of inherited genetic disorders resulting in progressive muscle weakening.
Symptoms of muscular dystrophies present as muscle weakness that initially occurs in a specific group of muscles before becoming more widespread, and may eventually progress to impact the muscles of the heart and lungs, which can be life threatening. Symptoms of muscular dystrophies often involve movement difficulties such as difficulty running, frequently falling, muscular pain and stiffness, difficulty moving from a supine to sitting position, waddling, and walking on the toes.
Muscular dystrophy disorders are caused by the inheritance of mutated genes. These disorders can be recessive inherited, dominant inherited or sex-linked inherited disorders.
Treatment is patient specific depending on the type of muscular dystrophy and the symptoms that it is causing. For example, physiotherapy may aid with mobility difficulties, beta-blockers may be used to treat heart complications, and tube feeding may be required for swallowing difficulties. Other treatments include steroids, creatine supplements, and corrective surgery.