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Muscular Dystrophy Intro

             The neuromuscular system is the complex and intricate body system that enables.
             Incidentally, there are many small things that can go.
             wrong, causing debilitating problems. A person with a neuromuscular disorder can.
             be robbed of his ability to do anything from ambulating to swallowing. One such.
             genre of these conditions is muscular dystrophy. This group is composed of.
             several genetic and hereditary myopathies that are characterized by loss of.
             muscle mass and progressive muscle weakness. Muscular dystrophies affect about.
             one in every three thousand male births. The most common and severe of these.
             conditions is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, on which this discussion will.
             primarily focus.
             The word dystrophy is derived from both Greek and Latin roots and means "faulty.
             nutrition." In the 19th century doctors noted that muscles.
             in affected patients appeared to be wasting away and formed conjectures.
             suggesting that this muscle-wasting was indicative and resultant of poor.
             As medical and physiological knowledge has increased greatly over the past two.
             hundred years, we now are aware that muscular dystrophies are not acquired, but.
             that the potential for these conditions is present before birth.
             They are caused by defects in genes for muscle proteins that help to support the.
             structure of muscle fibers and possibly participate in biochemical processes.
             There are nine known types of muscular dystrophies. The degree of disability.
             and dependence relies upon the severity and type of the disease. They will be.
             defined here in order of age of patients affected.
             Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy strikes between the ages of forty and seventy.
             years. It first effects the obicularis oculi and the pharyngeal muscles. The.
             disease progresses very slowly, but eventually causes emaciation and death due.
             to an inability to swallow.
             Distal muscular dystrophy presents itself in those of the forty to sixty year.
             age-range. It causes weakness and wasting of the muscles of the hands, forearms,.

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