Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” and “How many people are affected?” is available in the Condition Information section. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are specific to a certain topic are answered in this section.
How do people cope with muscular dystrophy (MD)?
Although MD presents many challenges in many different aspects of daily life, those with MD enjoy full lives. Advances in drug therapies, physical therapies, and assistive technologies can help to make some daily activities easier to further improve health and quality of life.
Almost all people with any form of MD experience a worsening of symptoms over time. Typically, muscles weaken over the life course, and patients may have greater difficulty performing tasks as they age.Several factors also can influence how well those with MD and their families can overcome the challenges of the disorder, including1:
- Making the environment accessible. This may include adding ramps, widening doorways, moving bedrooms to the ground level, and making other changes to ensure access for devices such as wheelchairs that aid with mobility.
- Improving mobility. Braces, crutches, wheelchairs, and electric scooters can help people move within their environments independently.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to reduce added stress on muscles and to prevent certain health conditions, such as respiratory problems.
- Getting physical activity. Low-impact physical activity like swimming can help improve muscle strength and overall well-being.
- Getting restful sleep. As muscles weaken, it can be more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Certain beds, pads, and mattresses can help improve comfort, which can improve the quality of sleep.
Those with MD and their families may also benefit from getting involved with support groups and local organizations so they can meet others who are dealing with similar challenges and learn possible solutions.2 Visit the Resources and Publications section to find organizations with support groups in your area.
- Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. (2010). Managing daily life. Retrieved June 8, 2012, from http://www.endduchenne.org/care
- Muscular Dystrophy Association. (2011). Learning to live with neuromuscular disease: A message for parents. Retrieved June 11, 2012, from http://www.mda.org/publications/PDFs/LearningtoLiveNMD.pdf (PDF - 705 KB)