What to Know About Muscular Dystrophy Treatments

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases in which abnormal genes interfere with the production of proteins that are required to form healthy muscles. It causes progressive weakness and muscle mass loss. There is no definite cure for muscular dystrophy, but there has been a lot of progress in research for this condition. This research aims to improve the quality of life for the patients.

Some of the common treatments for muscular dystrophy include the following methods:

1. Occupational and physical therapies
Physical therapy is found to be effective for maintaining a flexible range of motion in patients with the condition. Since their joints become inflexible and immobile, such exercises can help delay the development of contractures. You can also try exercises for strengthening other muscles that are not yet affected to make up for the damaged muscles. This treatment is beneficial in the early stages of muscular dystrophy.

Regular workouts will also maintain overall good health. However, if the patient is made to undergo very strenuous workouts, it may do more harm than good. Braces and customized wheelchairs can make the lives of patients with the disease easier. Also, it is necessary to have handicap-friendly workplaces and homes.

2. Drug therapy
Some medications are effective treatments for muscular dystrophy. They control its symptoms and even slow them down. For instance, prednisone is found to boost muscular strength. It also helps to enhance respiratory functions and slow down the disease from progressing. But, its side-effects are many, like obesity, cataracts, brittle bones, high blood pressure, etc.

3. Nutrition
Healthy diet plans are essential for treatments for muscular dystrophy. There are many metabolic changes in patients who take steroids to treat muscular dystrophy. These could compromise the patient’s mobility even further. Some patients suffer from malnutrition as they have difficulty swallowing food. In such a case, their family or caregivers can try alternative feeding techniques.

4. Surgery
When contractures become acute, they must be corrected through surgery. It will relieve the tension as surgery cuts the tendons of affected muscles. These are then put in braces in normal positions so that they can heal.

5. Heart treatments
Cardiomyopathy is a possible complication arising from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In such situations, the patient may need a pacemaker. Other treatments for cardiomyopathy may have to be tried out for if fitting a pacemaker isn’t possible.

6. Respiratory care
If the diaphragm or respiratory muscles weaken too much, the patient may need to be put on a ventilator so that they can breathe. The patient can also inhale air through a mouthpiece or tube. So, it is crucial to maintain healthy lungs to cut down the risks of breathing complications. One may also need to use cough-assist devices for clearing respiratory secretions and keeping infections away.

7. Creatine
It is a naturally-occurring chemical in our bodies and helps supply energy to the muscles. One can ask the doctor if their child can benefit from creatine supplements.

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