Specialized Care in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy
Loyola Medicine takes a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of muscular dystrophy (MD), which refers to a series of diseases that affect a muscle or groups of muscles throughout the body. These conditions are caused by gene defects in muscle-protecting proteins and lead to progressive weakness in the muscles, loss of muscle tissue or contractures.
Symptoms may appear in childhood or adulthood, depending on the type of muscular dystrophy. However, more severe forms of muscular dystrophy usually occur in childhood. There are many different types of MD, including:
- Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD)
- Congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD)
- Distal muscular dystrophy (DD)
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
- Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD)
- Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)
- Limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD)
- Myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD)
- Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD)
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to muscular dystrophy, you want to have the correct diagnosis as soon as possible. Loyola’s compassionate team will guide you through diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Why Choose Loyola for Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy?
Loyola’s team understands that muscular dystrophy can be life-changing not only for the patient, but also for family members. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families.
Our neurology and neurosurgery department is ranked among the top 50 in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 Best Hospitals list. As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery.
Our neurologists are board certified in clinical neurophysiology and are highly skilled in utilizing nerve conduction studies and EMG tests to correctly diagnose these disorders. In addition, Loyola’s neuro intensive care unit is staffed by trained neurology nurses, who have earned Magnet status.
How is Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosed?
Loyola Medicine’s doctors are highly skilled in diagnosing muscular dystrophy. Your doctor will take your personal and medical history and conduct a physical exam, which among other things will check for:
- Abnormally curved spine, or scoliosis
- Joint contractures
- Muscle weakness, or myasthenia
- Poor muscle tone, or hypotonia
Additional diagnostic tests to assess the different types of MD vary and may include:
- Blood and urine tests, for DNA markers and creatine kinase level, or CPK
- Heart tests, including an electrocardiography (ECG)
- Muscle biopsies
- Nerve tests, including nerve conduction and electromyography (EMG)
How is Muscular Dystrophy Treated?
Depending on the type of MD diagnosed, treatments may include:
- Corrective orthopaedic surgery
- Occupational therapy
- Orthopaedic support devices or mobility aids
- Pacemaker surgery
- Physical therapy
- Respiratory therapy
- Speech therapy
Our genetic counselors can help you if you are planning a family and have a family history of muscular dystrophy.
Continuous Research to Advance the Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy
As an academic medical center, Loyola Medicine is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new medications and protocols. Loyola’s patients benefit from our research discoveries; read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.