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Muscular Dystrophy and the benefits of exercise.

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a degenerative disease that damages and weakens your muscles over time which is caused by a lack of protein called dystrophin, which is necessary for normal muscle function. As a result, people living with MD can have difficulty with walking, swallowing, and muscle coordination.

There are various types of muscular dystrophy; Duchenne’s MD, Becker MD, congenital MD, limb-girdle MD, facioscapulohumeral MD, which all affect different muscle groups and have varied severity of muscle degeneration.

MD does not only affect muscle groups, but other health conditions can arise as a result. These effects include:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Testicular atrophy – the testes become smaller and may stop functioning
  • Difficulty breathing and adverse reactions to anaesthesia
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) 
  • Digestive problems
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Learning difficulties
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Scoliosis
  • Heart concerns
  • Restriction of joint movement
  • Wheelchair usage
  • Short life expectancy

Exercise Physiologists can assist with reducing the above-mentioned effects through individualised exercise prescription. One study showed that low-intensity aerobic exercise improved individuals’ maximal oxygen uptake and workload with no indications of muscle damage. Another study which consisted of 24 participants performing a strength program for 12 months, showed improvements in muscle strength across all patients throughout the first four months, regardless of type of dystrophy.

Therefore, participating in EP for MD can contribute to improvements in quality of life, mental health, and assist in controlling other health conditions that can occur as mentioned above.

If you have any further questions, give us a call or make an appointment with our NDIS specialist Kelsey.

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