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This causes the muscles, primarily voluntary muscles, to become progressively weaker. In the late stages of muscular dystrophy, fat and connective tissue often replace muscle fibers and in some types of muscular dystrophy, even heart muscles, other involuntary muscles and other organs are affected. Although experts are still debating about the possible cause, the most common types of muscular dystrophy appear to be due to a genetic deficiency of the muscle protein dystrophin.
Unfortunately there's no cure for muscular dystrophy, but medications and therapy can slow the course of the disease. These dystrophies weaken the muscles over time, so children, teens, and adults who have the disease can gradually lose the ability to do the things they took for granted, like walking or sitting up.
Mechanism of muscle damage
Muscles like any other tissue, need many different kinds of proteins to stay healthy. The ones involved with the muscular dystrophy are the kind human body actually creates on its own. This process is genetically controlled because genes are telling the body how to make the proteins your muscles need. In people with MD, these genes carry wrong information so the body can't make these proteins properly.
Without these proteins, the muscles break down and weaken over time.
Signs and symptoms of muscular dystrophy
Because there are many different types of muscular dystrophies signs and symptoms vary according to the type but that there are three cardinal signs:
- Muscle weakness
- Apparent lack of coordination
- Progressive crippling and contractures of the muscles