Muscular Dystrophy – However difficult life may seem there is something you can always do and succeed at!
Disabled children, young adults and their families face many hurdles daily - from social occasions and sports to acquiring health services and managing at their school, college or work. One thing that we cannot fail to see is how a label of ‘disability’ or ‘handicapped’ can have intense effect on the opportunities of placements for a child or a young adult, most of the times for children who need a strong, supportive and loving environment of the highest order.
Over the past three decades, we have been establishing a much better understanding of disabilities in children and young adults, where our ability to diagnose, categorize and measure their impact has improved significantly. Today, we are better placed to point out disabilities statistics that prove how they affect us individually and collectively.
Muscular Dystrophy is a cluster of disorder that makes muscles weaker and less flexible over time. It is a critical, deteriorating muscle-wasting condition caused by a complication in the genes that control how the body keeps muscles fit.
It is triggered by mutations in the genes that manage the structure and functioning of an individual’s muscles. The mutations cause swap in the muscle fibers that obstruct the muscles’ ability to function and are often inherited from a person’s parents. Over a period of time, this causes increased disability and can be devastating, having an effect on every sector of life, cutting too many lives short.
For few people, the disorder begins early in childhood while others don’t show up having any symptoms until they are teenagers or middle-aged adults. How muscular dystrophy affects children or young adults depends on the kind. For most people the condition will worsen over time and few people may lose the ability to walk, talk or care for themselves.
Muscular Dystrophy is in many different types, each with slight different symptoms. Not all types bring about severe disability and many do not affect life span. Some of the general types of Muscular Dystrophy include:
1. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – This is one of the most common and severe forms which generally affect boys between the age of 3 to 5 and people with this condition usually have a life span of 20 to 30 years.
2. Becker Muscular Dystrophy – This is very similar to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but milder and symptoms start only in later stages – between the age of 11 and 25. Comparatively it is less severe and does not affect life span as much.
3. Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy – This develops either in childhood or early in adulthood and mainly affects boys. Majority of the people with this condition often have heart problems along with muscle weakness and would have a life span until at least middle age.
4. Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy – This mode of Muscular Dystrophy is the most common form in adults. People with this condition cannot relax their muscles after they contract and can affect both men and women. It usually starts around the age of 20 and the life span doesn’t always get affected, but people with severe form of this condition may have decreased life.
5. Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy – A person usually develops this condition at the age between 40 to 50 years. It causes weakness in the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders, droopy eyelids followed by difficulty swallowing. The life span of a person tends to get affected with this condition.
6. Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy – This condition usually develops in childhood or adulthood which affects the muscles of the face, shoulders and upper arms. It advances slowly and normally isn’t life-threatening.
7. Limb-Gridle Muscular Dystrophy – This is a cluster of conditions that normally develops in a person’s teens or 20’s. Few variants of this condition tend to advance quickly and can be life-threatening.
There’s no cure for this disorder, but there are a range of treatments that can help with the physical disabilities and problems that may arise with Muscular Dystrophy. The most important thing is to get the right treatment you need and find support. Many treatments at Chetna Foundation for this form of disability can help you keep the muscles strong and flexible.