Muscular dystrophy is a collective term for inherited muscular disorders which lead to increasing muscular atrophy. Through a defect in the metabolism of the muscle cell, the skeletal and heart musculature is metabolised and replaced by fat and connective tissues. Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy is the most frequent type. Approximately one out of 3500 newborns is affected. Doctors find the Becker-Kiener type much more rarely. Both forms of muscular dystrophy are inherited X-chromosomally / recessively. That is, the disorder is expressed in boys if they inherit the defective gene from their mother. On the other hand, girls are usually only carriers.
Progress of muscular dystrophy
Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy is often noticed as early as the third to fifth year of life, when the child frequently stumbles and falls. Due to the muscle weakness which initially occurs in the pelvic girdle and thighs, a waddling gait develops. The children have trouble moving into an upright position from sitting or lying, and often support themselves on walls or furniture. Between the fifth and seventh year of life, muscular dystrophy may begin to affect the shoulder and arm musculature. Many seven to twelve year olds already need a wheelchair, but can usually still look after themselves. The need for full care often begins after their 18th birthday. The Becker-Kiener type, on the other hand, progresses more slowly. The first symptoms appear between the fifth and 25th years of life.
Therapy of muscular dystrophy
The ability to stand is particularly important for muscular dystrophy patients who are already dependent on a wheelchair. For daily standing can positively influence lung function in rapidly progressing illness. After the loss of the ability to walk and with increasing loss of strength in the arms and shoulders, a modern and light electrical wheelchair allows independent movement.