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What Effect Does Muscular Dystrophy Have On The Body?

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic disease that causes gradual and progressive degeneration of the muscles. This results in shortening and stiffening of muscles.1 It is inherited from parents who carry the defective genes. These genes affect the production of a protein named dystrophin, which is necessary for growth and function of the muscles. The patient loses its strength to walk, sit, breathe and move hands and arms. In severe cases, it affects heart and lung muscles that may cause life-threatening consequences.

What Effect Does Muscular Dystrophy Have On The Body?

The effects of muscular dystrophy on the body are-

Problems With Movement– it usually affects the voluntary muscles of the body that control the movement of the body. The child who has inherited the disease from their parents, he may have a normal pattern of development in the muscles in his first few years of life. The patient cannot walk properly, he may stumble. He may feel difficulty in climbing stairs. He cannot walk on toes. He may feel it challenging to get up when he is sitting in a chair. He may have to give extra efforts to push things such as a tricycle or a wagon. He may experience difficulty in moving the arms and hand.

Enlarged Calf Muscles– there is always a possibility that their calf muscles may have become enlarged. This happens due to damage of muscles and they are replaced by fat. This condition is also known as calf pseudohypertrophy.

Effects On Eyes– the muscles around the eyes may get degenerated. He may also develop a cataract in the eyes. He may feel problems in closing or opening the eyes and the eye muscles become weak.

Effects On Heart Muscles– due to progressive degeneration of heart muscles, the patient may develop heart ailments which need immediate medical attention.

Effect On The Spine– in severe cases, the child may develop S or C shaped curvature in the spine. This may prevent the child to sit upright and comfortably in a chair. This curvature happens due to degeneration of muscles around the spine. Surgery is advocated in such cases to correct the curvature.

Effects On Respiratory Muscles– he may face problems in breathing when muscular dystrophy affects respiratory muscles. This requires immediate treatment as this condition may progress to serious complications with time. He may face difficulties in expressing cough phlegm out of the body and prone to develop respiratory infections again and again. He should be given regular vaccinations to prevent such infections.

Effects On Learning Abilities And Intelligence– the child may have average intelligence. He may have impaired learning abilities.

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of inherited conditions which is characterized by progressive wasting of voluntary muscles of the body.1 It is caused by mutations in the genes that disturb the production of a protein named dystrophin. Dystrophin is a protein required for healthy growth and functioning of muscles.

The deficiency or absence of this protein may cause difficulty in walking, swallowing, and coordination of muscles. The condition interferes with the normal function of muscles depending upon the type and severity of the disease. It may vary in effects from mild to moderate to severe. It progresses slowly over years to cause disabilities.
Muscular dystrophy can develop at any age. Its appearance is usually seen in infancy however, it may also appear in middle age or later. Its appearance in a particular age depends on its type and severity.

Muscular dystrophy is known to affect males mostly. Women develop muscular dystrophy rarely and act as a carrier of the defective gene.


Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited disease that causes degeneration and weakness of muscles over the time. It affects mostly voluntary muscles of the body which control the movement of the body parts. It can affect muscles of eyes and face. In severe cases, it affects heart, respiratory and spinal muscles.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 13, 2019

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