Muscular dystrophy is usually caused by a genetic mutation that gradually causes damage and loss of muscle cells in the body. There are more than 150 types of degenerative muscle diseases that have different functions; however, almost all of them begin with the same mild symptoms, which, if left undetected, worsen over time.
At Fit Foodie Finds, we have gathered the eight most common signs of muscle degeneration, which you should not ignore under any circumstances.
1. Pain and stiffness in muscles
Loss of muscle cells usually causes a feeling of weakness in the muscles. For example, if you feel pain when you get up from a chair, wash your hair, lift an object or drop objects on the floor, you probably have muscular dystrophy.
You may also suffer from contractures, loss of flexibility, and frequent muscle pain that indicates something is wrong with your muscles. In addition to this, symptoms such as prolonged spasms, stiffness in muscles, arms, and legs can be signs of myotonia, a muscle tone disorder that requires immediate medical treatment.
2. Enlarged calves
Calf muscles that are too large may be a sign of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This disease usually appears at a relatively young age in children and worsens rapidly.
If you suffer from this disease, it is the muscles of your calves that will be affected first. Indeed, it is these that are most used to find the balance of the body. In this case, the first muscles will gradually
be replaced by fat and scar tissue.
3. Curved spine
If your muscles are not strong enough to keep the spine always straight, you may adopt a bad posture that can lead to scoliosis over time. The column deviates or curves to the side, causing the internal organs to move at the same time.
Scoliosis is commonly seen in adolescents and is diagnosed more frequently in women than in men. This disease can have a variety of side effects on your health, including severe headaches and leg pain.
4. Breathing problems
In severe cases of scoliosis, progressive muscle weakness can affect the muscles associated with the respiratory process. Although you may not have difficulty breathing, you may experience some problems that indicate poor respiratory function such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, and nightmares.
Weak chest muscles make coughing difficult, which increases the risk of severe respiratory infection. This is how a simple cold can turn into pneumonia quickly if not treated properly.
5. Speech, chewing, and swallowing difficulties
Early signs of Kennedy’s disease or bulbospinal amyotrophy may be eating problems, such as loss of the ability to chew or swallow food, a cough, a choking sensation, or loss of voice after eating. This disease can occur at any age, but it usually develops in adulthood.
In addition to difficulty eating, you may notice other symptoms such as changes in your voice, a nasal voice, or even complete atrophy of the muscles of the face, mandible, and tongue. All of these symptoms require immediate medical treatment.
6. Heart problems
Progressive changes in the functioning of the heart can be observed in different types of muscular dystrophy. These changes are called cardiomyopathy (or heart muscle disease); it may not show any symptoms in the early stages of the disease, although some people experience difficulty breathing, fatigue, and swelling in the legs.
However, because of this disorder, the heart muscle may not function as well as it should. This is why you may experience symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, fainting, and discomfort over time.
In addition to muscle damage, people who have myotonic dystrophy often suffer from various eye problems. These problems include weakness in the eye muscles, watery eyes, low eye pressure, and cataracts.
That is one of the most common signs of muscular dystrophy. It presents itself as an opacity located near the center of the lens of the eye that usually leads to suffering blurred vision. The colors appear less bright. The person has a higher sensitivity to light and problems with night vision.
8. Balding and infertility in men
Some men who have myotonic dystrophy also suffer from hormonal changes. These imbalances usually cause baldness at a relatively young age (between 20 and 30 years) on the front part of men’s scalp.
This endocrine disorder may also be responsible for men for impotence and testicular atrophy. Generally, this condition leads to infertility or the inability to have children.