Muscular dystrophy is genetics based hereditary disorder of muscle in which skeletal muscle of the body become weak. It is due to the defect in dystrophin gene, which produces dystrophin protein. Without this protein the cells or tissues of muscle become dead or protein of muscle becomes defective.
There can be massive discussion about Muscular Dystrophy Syndrome, and inheritance and its genetic basis, but in this article my main emphasis will be on it treatment and drugs.
Currently no cure is available for any form of muscular dystrophy. As it is genetically based so research into gene therapy may provide ultimate treatment against some types of muscular dystrophy. At present treatment is designed to prevent or reduce the deformities in the joints, which help to people with muscular dystrophy to remain mobile as long as possible.
Treatment includes physical therapy, medication, assistive devices and surgery.
Physical therapy is used in patients to provide regular motion to their joints by exercise to keep their joints as flexible as possible. Because in muscular dystrophy progressive weakness of muscles and contractures can develop in joint that can affect to the joint of hands, elbow, feet, knees and hips. Hydrotherapy also known as hot baths also help in maintain the motion in the joints.
Medications are not for the cure of the disease, but these are used to slow down the progression, signs and symptoms to develop. In muscular dystrophy associated myotonia (muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness ) medication used to help manage this. Medication includes mexiletine, phenytoin, baclofen, dantrolene, and carbamazepine. To improve the muscle strength and delay the progression in Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy some anti inflammatory corticosteroid medication prednisone used. Some immunosuppressive drugs also used to delay some damage to the dying muscle cells, cyclosporine and azathioprine used for this purpose.
Assistive devices are also used in muscular dystrophy. For example braces can provide support to the weak muscles of hands and lower legs and also help to keep muscles and tendon flexible and stretched. These can also slowing down the progression of contractures. There are many other devices those can use, such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs. These help to maintain the motion and independence in the person. If there is weakened of respiratory muscles occurs, use the ventilator.
As far as the surgery is concerned, this is done to release the joints contractures, which may develop and cause the disposition of the joint in painful ways. Tendon release surgery is commonly practiced in medical field. Surgery might be done to relieve the tendon of hip and knee, also on the Achilles tendon at the back of the foot. Surgery may also do to correct the curvature of the spine.
In muscular dystrophy respiratory infection may become serious problem in later stages. So it’s important to go for pneumonia vaccination and also keep the patient up to date with influenza shots.
Through all practices describe above, we can only ease the patient, there is no cure so far at current stage. But there are many researches under going, especially in gene therapy field. So hope so that mankind will get the perfect treatment of this awful disease.