Muscular Dystrophy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment


What Is Muscular Dystrophy?

muscle cramps

  • Have trouble getting up, climbing stairs, running, or jumping
  • Walk on their toes or waddle
  • Some will also have symptoms like:

    • A curved spine (called scoliosis)
    • Droopy eyelids
    • Heart problems
    • Blood tests. They check for levels of certain enzymes that muscles release when they are damaged.
    • Electromyography, or EMG. Your doctor will put small needles, called electrodes, on different parts of your child’s body and ask them to slowly flex and relax their muscles. The electrodes are attached with wires to a machine that measures electrical activity.
    • Muscle Ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make pictures of the inside of the body.

    Doctors can also test a sample of their swimming.

  • Get . Ask your doctor or therapist about certain beds or pads that can make your child more comfortable and rested.
  • Use the right tools. Wheelchairs, crutches, or electric scooters can help your child if they have trouble walking.
  • The disease will most likely have a big impact on your family. Remember that it’s OK to ask a doctor, counselor, family, or friends for help with any stress, sadness, or anger you may feel. Support groups are also good places to talk to other people who have lived with muscular dystrophy. They can help your child connect with others like them and give you and your family advice and understanding.

    What to Expect

    Muscular dystrophy is different for everyone. Some children may lose muscle strength very slowly, giving them and their families time to adjust to the changes. Others will get worse more quickly. Many people with the disease will need wheelchairs and help with daily living at some point, but that’s not always the case.

    Talk to your doctor about your child’s muscular dystrophy. Together, you can make the best possible treatment plan for them and get the support you need for your family.

    Getting Support

    To learn more about muscular dystrophy or find a support group in your area, visit the web site of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.