What is myotonic dystrophy and what are the main symptoms?
This is a very serious disease of the muscles, chronic in nature and known for its slow progression. To be more precise, myotonic dystrophy is a type of muscular dystrophy sometimes called Steinert’s disease. It can affect anyyone, mostly adults, regardless of age or sex. The main characteristics are stiffness and weakness of the muscles, usually those that responsible for the control of arms, legs, hands and feet. It is also possible that internal organs such as the uterus and those in the digestive tract can also be affected. This can result in various gastrointestinal problems, as well as problems during childbirth. Besides these, head, face and neck may also be affected, which usually leads to weakening of the muscles in these areas, resulting in drooping of the eyelids, and drooped facial appearance in general. If muscles that are involved in breathing and swallowing are affected, their weakening may lead to fatigue, decreased supply of oxygen and problems with swallowing. Dizziness and fainting are also likely to be experienced, as well as problems with sleeping, speech, learning, difficulty in concentrating, and even hypersomnia. Men may experience frontal baldness due to this problem, and it is not excluded that diabetes, heart and endocrine problems, and cataracts will occur eventually.
What are the causes of myotonic dystrophy and can it be cured?
Since this is an inherited condition caused by a defective gene. Only one parent needs to be affected, and the child will have a 50 % chance to inherit it. The chances do not decrease with each pregnancy; they remain the same. Unfortunately there is no cure for this condition. The treatment is also very difficult, because it is possible to treat complications and symptoms, but only to a certain extent. However, there are researches that are being conducted on this disease, in order to understand it better and to provide more effective methods of the treatment. It is important to know that there are genetic tests that can help in early detection of this defective gene, and should be done before pregnency. This can help parents with this disease to decrease the chances of having a child who will inherit their health problems.