IntroductionDuchenne muscular distrophy is a very serious condition characterized by rapid deterioration of the muscles. This is the most prevalent muscle dystrophy. The cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a defect in a protein called dystrophin which is in muscle fibers. Children who have Duchenne dystrophy are unable to walk by the age of 12. The life expectancy of people with this type of dystrophy is short. Duchenne dystrophy affects only males and women only passes the gene. The disease belongs to the group of inherited diseases and there is 50% chance of developing Duchenne muscular dystrophy if a parent has the gene.
Symptoms and complicationsThe main symptom is muscle weakness. The first signs may appear very early, at the age of two or three when children show difficulties in walking. As they grow older the condition gets worse. They are not able to walk properly, run or jump as their peers. They are likely to trip and fall and have problems with climbing the stairs or chairs.
The muscles that weaken first are those in the leg and then this spread to other lower parts of the body and eventually to the arms or neck, which is less common. Skeletal and muscle deformities are possible. Calf muscles are enlarged while other muscles are wasting. The walking skills progressively worsen, making the child unable to walk by the age of 12. A child can show some behavioral and mental disorders. Mental retardation rarely develops, but mental abilities can be impaired so the child has difficulties learning. There is the chance to develop some heart condition and heart muscle can deteriorate. As it progresses, the dystrophy can cause lungs complications.
Diagnosis and treatment The disease is diagnosed through genetic tests, electromyography,muscle biopsy and blood tests to determine the defects in dystrophin and serum enzymes tests. it is detected that children affected with this dystrophy have increased levels of the enzyme creatine kinase in the blood. The treatment is based on reducing the symptoms and complications.
The medication used to slow down walking impairment is Prednisone that is reported to have a lot of side effects while similar medicine called oxandrolone have less. The medications can include anti-congestives in the case of heart muscle condition or some breathing apparatus if the child has trouble breathing. Coenzyme Q10, glutamine, pentoxifylline are also given in the treatment. Sometimes, a surgery is possible in the case of deformities. The child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy is involved in the physical therapies that help him with walking and coordination. A child often uses braces and when the dystrophy becomes more pronounced, he or she must use a wheelchair.