Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of disorders that gradually weaken a person's muscles. Also known as MD, muscular dystrophy is caused by incorrect or missing genetic information that prevents the body from making the proteins needed to build and maintain healthy muscles. Most forms are diagnosed in young children.
Children who have the disease can gradually lose the ability to do everyday tasks and eventually have trouble walking, sitting upright or breathing easily. The increasing weakness also can lead to other health problems. Though the most common form of MD affects the arms, legs and spine, other forms of the disease affect the heart, digestive system, eyes and brain.
There's no cure for muscular dystrophy, but researchers are learning more about how to treat it. And there are ways to improve muscle and joint function and slow deterioration so that children with MD can stay as active as possible.
Treating children who suffer from MD and supporting their families requires a compassionate care team. Pediatricians at Mercy work with our heart, lung and spine specialists to coordinate care that manages symptoms and keeps children healthy longer. We take a team approach, with Mercy doctors, therapists and staff collaborating to ensure the most effective treatment for your child and to provide ongoing support for you and your family.