About Muscular Dystrophy

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

The Muscular Dystrophies are a group of genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal or voluntary muscles which control movement. The muscles of the heart and some other involuntary muscles are also affected in some forms of Muscular Dystrophy (MD), and a few forms involve other organs as well.

Muscular Dystrophy a general term for a number of hereditary, progressive degenerative disorders affecting skeletal muscles, and often other organ systems.

Some forms of MD are seen in infancy or childhood, while others may not appear until middle age or later. The disorders differ in terms of the distribution and extent of muscle weakness, age of onset, rate of progression, and pattern of inheritance.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most common form of MD and primarily affects boys. It is caused by the absence of dystrophin, a protein involved in maintaining the integrity of muscle. Onset is between 3 and 5 years and the disorder  progresses rapidly. Most boys are unable to walk by age 12, and later need a respirator to breathe.

About 1 out of every 3,500 boys is born with MD, in India alone. Patients with MD are afflicted by lifelong disability and require high levels of family, societal and medical care.

Girls are carriers and do not generally get affected physically but have a 50 percent chance of inheriting and passing the defective gene to their children.