Who Treats Muscular Dystrophy?

Who Treats Muscular Dystrophy
Who Treats Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is treated by a multidisciplinary team headed by a neurologist (MD). Your care will be customised to meet your individual needs.

A collection of illnesses known as MD causes progressive weakening and wastage of the muscles. Muscular dystrophy gradually impairs your mobility and capacity to do daily tasks.

Your care team will consist of a range of medical specialists if you have been diagnosed with MD. Together, they'll support your freedom, avoid complications, and help you manage your symptoms.

What kind of doctor specializes in muscular dystrophy?

A person with MD may require care for a wide range of conditions. For instance, MD can impact numerous additional body parts in addition to the muscles, such as the:
  • nervous system
  • cardiovascular system
  • respiratory system
The finest doctors to handle these various needs are those who specialise in particular fields. As a result, a multidisciplinary care team is used in MD treatment.

Often, a neurologist with experience in neuromuscular disorders serves as the team leader. Conditions that affect your muscles, the nerves that govern them, or the transmission of information between them are referred to as neuromuscular conditions.

The Muscular Dystrophy Care team

Physicians who treat MD patients' musculoskeletal complaints frequently make up an MD care team, and these physicians may include:
  • Physical therapists: Physical therapists can assist persons with MD in maintaining their muscle strength and avoiding issues like contractures by promoting strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Occupational therapists: Those with MD can benefit from occupational therapy by learning self-management skills and how to adjust to changes in function.
  • Orthopedists: Orthopedists work with MDs to treat bone and joint conditions, including spinal curvatures and contractures. Additionally, they can aid in the management of osteoporosis that may arise from corticosteroid therapies.
  • Orthotists: Orthotists aid in fitting braces and splints, among other assistive equipment, for patients with MD.
The following other professionals could be involved in an MD patient's care:
  • cardiologists, who treat heart-related disorders such as arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy
  • pulmonologists, who handle lung-related disorders and breathing issues
  • Endocrinologists: specialists in hormone-related disorders
  • Nutritionists can assist individuals with MDs in maintaining a healthy nutritional status.
  • Speech-language pathologists assist patients who have trouble eating or speaking
  • gastroenterologists can assist with issues related to the digestive system, like constipation or trouble swallowing
  • specialists in genetic problems known as geneticists or genetic counsellors
  • mental health specialists who can assist MD patients in adjusting to their diagnosis and the consequences of their illness
  • surgeons, who could handle spinal curvatures or contractures resulting from MD
Furthermore, a care coordinator could be a part of the care team. In addition to interacting with you, this person facilitates communication among the various members of your care team.

How to find care

You have access to resources if you're seeking MD specialists. A couple of websites worth looking into include Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, which focuses on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which has several connected care centres spread out around the United States.

Another important resource is your primary care physician. They can assist you put up a team and refer you to experts who specialise in the care of patients with MD.

How do doctors treat muscular dystrophy?

Treatment options that a physician might recommend for MD include:
  • corticosteroids and additional medications that help decrease the rate of muscle deterioration
  • extra drugs to treat side effects of MD, like arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, or muscular spasms
  • respiratory treatment for respiratory issues, such as deep breathing techniques
  • support devices that help with stability and mobility, such as wheelchairs, braces, or splints
  • surgery to install a pacemaker to avoid heart issues or to treat spine curvatures or contractures
  • If MD impairs your ability to breathe, you could require assisted ventilation.
  • speech-language therapy
  • psychotherapy
  • physical and occupational therapy
Each patient with an MD is unique. Your care team will therefore customise the treatments you receive to fit your unique needs.

What is a person with muscular dystrophy's prognosis?

As yet, there is no treatment for MD. Over time, MD symptoms will progressively get worse. Treatment can improve your quality of life, support your independence, and help you manage the symptoms and problems of MD.

The type of MD you have may have an impact on your particular prognosis. While life expectancy may be shortened in certain MD patients, it might be quite typical in others.

For instance, two forms of MD are comparable: DMD and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD). However, compared to BMD, DMD is more severe and advances more quickly. As a result, the median life expectancy for those with DMD is currently 28.1 years, whereas the typical life expectancy for those with BMD is frequently in their 40s and 50s.

In the meanwhile, a normal lifespan is achievable for many individuals with myotonic MD. Nevertheless, the kind of myotonic MD patients have and the age of beginning will determine this.


A collection of illnesses known as MD causes progressive weakening and wastage of the muscles. It can also impact other bodily parts like the heart, lungs, and neurological system in addition to the skeletal muscles.

Because of this, MD patients are treated by a multidisciplinary care team. Your specific needs will determine who makes up this team and how you are treated.

Your prognosis may change based on the kind of MD you have. You can get more information about your specific prognosis, available treatments, and what to anticipate from your care team.

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