Muscular dystrophy is defined as a group of inherited disease that causes degeneration and weakness of muscles over the time. It usually affects voluntary muscles that control the movement of the body.1 If affects the mobility of a person and he may get bound to use a wheelchair. In some cases, it may also affect the muscles of vital organs such as the heart and lungs that may cause life threatening conditions. Till today, no treatment is known to cure muscular dystrophy. But, its symptoms and progressed can be managed.
Coping Methods For Muscular Dystrophy
The ways to cope with muscular dystrophy include:
Acceptance– Acceptance is a way to cope with muscular dystrophy. You and your child need to accept the facts of the disease that he is sick and he has to carry on the treatment to live a better quality of life. The disease brings lots of challenges related to one’s movement, so, one should be ready to face them with the latest technology, drug, and physical therapies.
Change In Lifestyle– the patient is likely to spend most of his time in the wheelchair so everything such as doorways, shelves, etc should be accessible for the patient. The stairs should be replaced by ramps so that the patient can do his own activities without help.
Government Laws– laws are also formulated according to the disables so that they can get a proper education, jobs, and access to public places.
Technology– technology has helped the disables to perform many activities such as moving their wheelchair with remote, etc. Some devices are also useful to perform school work, play or other work.
Weight– the patient is advised to maintain ha healthy weight so that it may not impose stress on the weakened muscles.
Regular Vaccination– the children with muscular dystrophy cannot cough out phlegm due to the weakening of respiratory muscles. Respiratory infections can become serious. The child should be subjected to regular vaccination program for the prevention of such infections.
Physical Activities– the patient should involve light physical workouts like swimming and other light exercises in their daily routine. This helps in maintaining the strength of the muscles to as long as possible. The disease may also progress more slowly due to exercises.
Bracing– the patient may require bracing around the joint contractures due to shortened and stiffened muscles. This is helpful to reduce pain while movement when coping with muscular dystrophy.
Resting Places– certain beds are made with current technology to provide comfort and rest to the patient. A good sleeping position is essential for the patient as muscular dystrophy progresses.
Emotional Support– The patient whether child or adult needs emotional support to live peacefully with muscular dystrophy and cope with it. The child should be encouraged to take his own decisions regarding education, social involvement, and health care. He should have self-confidence.
Muscular Dystrophy Treatment
Specific medicines can reduce the pain and slow down the progress of muscular dystrophy. This may also be helpful in improving the activity level of the body. These are:
Corticosteroids– these medicines increase the strength of the muscle and delay the progress of muscular dystrophy.2 However, they are prescribed in limited doses as they can weaken the muscles further more. Another side effect of corticosteroids is that they may increase body weight.
Heart medicines– beta blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are given if heart muscles are affected.
Spine surgery– in cases of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, severe scoliosis develops in the spine which causes S or C shaped curvature of the spine. This happens due to the weakening of back muscles. Such patients require spinal fusion surgery. This surgery helps to reduce the curvature and helps the patient to sit upright in a chair.
Muscular dystrophy is an inherited progressive degenerative disease of the muscles. It affects muscles growth and muscle coordination. It can be managed by corticosteroids and physiotherapy. One should follow the coping methods discussed above to elevate his activity level.
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