Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the muscles. It is caused by mutations in the gene that provides instructions for making a protein called dystrophin. Dystrophin is a crucial protein that helps protect muscle fibers from damage during muscle contractions.
Symptoms of BMD may include muscle weakness and wasting, particularly in the muscles of the hips, pelvic area, thighs, and shoulders. Other symptoms may include difficulty walking, running, or climbing stairs, fatigue, and muscle cramps. Some people with BMD may also develop heart problems, such as cardiomyopathy or heart failure.
BMD is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, family history, and genetic testing. Treatment may involve medications to help manage symptoms, physical therapy to maintain muscle strength and mobility, and assistive devices to aid in mobility. There is currently no cure for BMD, but ongoing research into gene therapy and other treatments may offer hope for future treatments.
Treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options may include:
Medications: Medications such as corticosteroids can help improve muscle strength and delay the progression of muscle weakness in some people with BMD. Other medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as pain, muscle cramps, or heart problems.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help maintain muscle strength and flexibility, prevent joint contractures, and improve overall mobility. A physical therapist can work with individuals with BMD to develop an exercise program tailored to their specific needs.
Assistive devices: Assistive devices such as braces, walkers, and wheelchairs can help improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Some people with BMD may also benefit from devices that assist with breathing or speech.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to correct orthopedic problems such as scoliosis or to improve mobility.