Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness throughout your body. This disorder is caused my mutations in the dystrophin gene. The dystrophin gene is responsible for the production of a muscle protein. So the muscles suffer a loss of protein and contractile fibers. Then the muscles replaced with fat and connective tissue. DMD mostly affects young males exclusively due to an x-linked recessive inheritance pattern. The site Muscular Dystrophy (http://mda.org/) provides useful information on DMD. DMD leads to many physical symptoms and complication. As early as the age of 3 the child will show general weakness. First the child will have problems keeping up with children their own age. Tasks such as climbing stairs, running or even walking may be very tiring to the child. In addition the child may seem clumsy and falls down often. The calf muscles become permanently damaged and cause the muscles to enlarge from the deposit of muscle fat. This is known as pseudohypertophy. The child will tend to walk on their forefeet (awkward gait) due to the enlarged calves. Between the ages 11 and 13 the young man will often develop skeletal deformities. The back muscles become weak, and the spine starts to curve. The spine is a column of small bones called vertebrae. There are five sections of the vertebral column. The body’s weight falls on the lumbar vertebrae. This excessive curvature bends toward the front causing the body to lean forward. This condition is known as Lordosis. In addition, lateral curvature of the spine called scoliosis. Depending on the severity scoliosis can be disfiguring and limit the function of the lungs and upper limbs. However, there is a major surgery to help straighten the spine. As DMD progresses the muscle weakness spreads and joint and tendon restriction called contracture is another symptom of DMD. The Achilles tendon is contracted and pulls the...
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