About Muscular Dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is the name for a group of neuromuscular disorders that are characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles that control body movement. As muscle tissue weakens and wastes away, it is replaced by fatty and connective tissue.
Each form of muscular dystrophy is caused by an error in a specific gene associated with muscle function; however, specific disorders within this group vary in many ways. The muscles involved are different from one disorder to another. The severity of the symptoms, the age at which the symptoms appear, how fast the symptoms progress, and what pattern of inheritance the disorder follows, are all factors which differ among the various forms of muscular dystrophy. Even within a specific disorder, several individuals with the same disorder may experience the disorder and its symptoms quite differently.
Muscular dystrophies are genetic disorders. Forms of muscular dystrophy can be passed on from generation to generation, or they can occur spontaneously in a single individual as the result of a mutation of a particular gene. Contrary to popular belief, muscular dystrophy is not exclusively a childhood disorder - anyone can be affected. While some types of muscular dystrophy are first evident in infancy or early childhood, other types may not appear until later in life.
Over time, persons with neuromuscular disorders may lose the ability to walk, speak, and ultimately breathe. For some individuals, the disorder is fatal. There is currently no cure.