Muscular dystrophy is a group of neurological genetic diseases that progressively become worse with time. The patient’s muscles responsible for controlling their skeletal movements become restricted and rigid. Seeing your ageing loved ones struggle with muscular dystrophy is a disheartening sight which begs the question: can anything be done to make their lives better?
Daily living aids have been invented to improve their lives. These muscular dystrophy living aids provide independence to patients who are otherwise unable to perform basic tasks and behaviours that are normally taken for granted as part of their normal lives. Tasks such as eating, dressing, bathing and walking become difficult to elderly adults living with balance problems.
For many people suffering from muscular dystrophy, living normal lives becomes next to impossible without daily living aids. When you look at the alarming numbers, over 1 in 5000 people are affected with neurological disorders that leave them affected with a severe case of muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy starts out by affecting the person’s shoulders and upper arm muscles in the hip and thigh regions, eventually affecting other areas of the body.
Some rare forms of muscular dystrophy even tend to appear in a patient’s early teens, taking away any semblance of independent life from them. Let’s discuss some of these activities.
Patient’s tendons, ligaments and muscles tend to get shortened and this leads to mobility issues that progressively lead to a loss of joint motion.
The curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. This normally happens when the muscles in the back become so weakened that they are unable to support the structure of the spine. When the spine curves, it puts more pressure on surrounding nerves. This pressure is more than what the nerves can tolerate, and this causes a host of symptoms such as weakness and numbness. Pain from the ensuing bone damage can cripple a patient’s life and make them unable to perform regular tasks.
Losing the Ability to Walk
By far one of the biggest signs that the person has lost their independence is when they can no longer walk and become dependent on a wheelchair to move from place to place. Other patients resort to using crutches to get by.
Unfortunately, muscular dystrophy doesn’t just restrict itself to limiting a person’s movement. It also affects the diaphragm and chest muscles. This inevitably leads to breathing difficulties. Eventually, the patient has to use a ventilator just to be able to breathe.
Unable to Swallow Food
Simple actions such as swallowing food are controlled by many muscles coordinating together to control the movement of food. When these become affected, patients find that they are unable to feed themselves and may require feeding tubes to get by. This is known as dysphagia and affects a large number of people.
Adverse Impact on the Heart
Muscular dystrophy does affect the heart in some cases, particularly individuals who suffer from Duchenne MD. This happens because of the absence of dystrophin, a protein that maintains muscle cells and keeps them intact.