Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease involving the functioning of muscles. As there is no cure for the disease, thus the prognosis depends upon the variety of factors.1 Further, various treatment options are available that helps improving the quality of life.
What Is The Prognosis For A Person With Muscular Dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy is an incurable disease as the problem lies in the abnormal genes. The genes responsible for the synthesis of dystrophin are mutated. Dystrophin is the substance which provides stretching to the muscles. Prognosis of the muscle dystrophy depends upon the following factors:
- Muscles Affected: The prognosis of the disease depends upon the type of the muscles affected. If the muscles affected are not of the vital organs such as leg or hand muscles, then the prognosis is favorable, and the patient may live longer provided the condition is properly managed. However, if the muscles involved are related to vital organs such as respiratory system or heart, the life span is greatly reduced.
- Progression Of The Disease: The prognosis of the disease also depends upon the progression of the disease. Some types of muscular dystrophy are slow in progression and are easy to manage.2 Patients with slow progression have a better diagnosis compared to those in which the disease is progressing very fast.
- Acquired Or Congenital: Muscular dystrophy is divided in to congenital or acquired. The congenital type is said to be more severe as compared to acquired disease for example brain abnormalities are more severe in congenital muscular dystrophy as compared to acquired muscular dystrophy.
- Degree Of Muscle Weakness: Degree of muscle weakness in muscular dystrophy also have an impact on the prognosis.2 If the cardiac muscles are weak and are not able to efficiently perform their function, then the patient would have a poor prognosis.
- Occurrence Of Symptoms: The occurrence of the symptoms also plays a major role in prognosis. If the symptoms occurred are such that they are hampering the vital processes such as brain functions, or cardiac functions or respiratory functions, then such patients have a poor prognosis and they have a limited life span.
- Stage Of The Disease: The stage of the disease also affects the prognosis. It is important to diagnose the disease at an earlier stage so that it can be managed properly to make the prognosis favorable.
- Response To Treatment: Various treatment options are available to manage the disease. However, there is no cure for the disease. The drugs used to manage the condition involves cardiovascular drugs such as beta blockers, steroids such as prednisone and deflazacort and the condition may also be managed by medical devices such as braces and mobility aids. Thus, if the patient positively response to the treatment the prognosis is favorable.
Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder. It may be congenital or acquired. Congenital muscular dystrophy is present from the birth while acquired muscular dystrophy is acquired later in life.3 A protein is found in the muscle which helps the muscles in providing stretching power. Due to the mutation in the genes, the genetic expression of dystrophin synthesis is either reduced or absent leading to the absence of this protein in muscles.
Dystrophin also helps regulating the calcium levels. The muscles die in absence of the protein and are engulfed by the macrophages. The condition is inherited through X-liked recessive format. This means that the gene for synthesizing dystrophin is present on X chromosomes. Thus, if the male has the faulty X-chromosome then he will suffer from muscular dystrophy as there is no other option for him to synthesize dystrophin as the other chromosome available is Y, which does not have the gene for synthesizing dystrophin. However, the inheritance in women is different as they have the two copies of gene, one on each chromosome. Thus, if the woman inherits one default X-chromosome, the other gene will be available for synthesizing dystrophin. The inheritance of both male and female is different in muscular dystrophy.
The prognosis of muscular dystrophy depends upon the types of muscles affected, stage of the disease, severity of the disease, progression of the disease, acquired or genetic and the response of the patient to the treatment.