Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

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What causes Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

  • Caused by genetics, usually a faulty gene passed down by the mother

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What are the signs/symptoms of DMD?

A person with this disease can suffer from several signs/symptoms such as:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Arm, leg and spine deformity
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffening, weak hands
  • Clumsiness
  • Spinal curvature
  • Waddling gait
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How does Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy progress?

People who have the disease may find that it tends to progress quite quickly. Here are some of the progressive symptoms that a person with DMD may suffer from:

  • Sometimes use a wheelchair at age 12
  • Breathing/heart problems at later stages
  • Chest infections
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortened life expectancy (up to early twenties)
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How is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy treated?

Medical/surgical interventions

  • Surgery - improves spinal curvature
  • Limb support - splints/callipers
  • Steroids - slow down muscle wastage
  • Nasal ventilation - help with breathing problems

Other interventions

  • Physiotherapy/breathing exercises
  • Aids and adaptations
  • Support at school
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How is DMD tested or prevented?

There are a few ways in which Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can be tested for or prevented. These include:

  • Genetic counselling - couples are tested for the faulty gene and given a probability of having an affected child
  • Pre-implantation - uninfertilised ova are removed and the egg is fertilised. The embryo is tested for the condition and implanted or destroyed
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