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How to Care for a Child Dealing With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?



Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder that makes muscles weaker and less flexible over time. It is a group of four diseases known as dystrophinopathies. These diseases affect only males and occur in 1/3,600 live-born infant boys and affect their childhood. If your child has DMD, the early signs and symptoms will show before they turn six years old. Major symptoms of DMD include hypotonia (reduced muscle tone), leg muscles are the usually most affected, and your child might start walking much later than other children their age. As they grow older, common symptoms include: 


● Scoliosis (a curved spine) 
● Shortened and tight muscles 
● Shortness of breath
● Headache
● Learning and memory problems 
● Trouble in concentration 
● Day-time sleepiness 


Muscle problems can also cause cramps in some children, but speaking generally, the condition isn’t painful. Children with DMD might also juggle with learning and behavioral problems. 


How to Care for Your Child? 


● Proper Treatment: If your child has duchenne muscular dystrophy, the first and foremost thing is to consult a doctor and get your kid checked. The doctor will analyze their medical history and schedule some tests for the diagnosis, and will create a proper treatment plan accordingly. 


● Make them walk and stand as much as they can: Walking and standing upright will keep your child’s spine straight and bones strong. You can provide them with standing walkers so that they can easily stand and get around. Your child may feel lazy and unmotivated to walk, but as a family, make sure you encourage them to do so.


● Take care of their diet: Although there’s no specific diet for children with DMD, doctors suggest that taking healthy foods can prevent weight issues and constipation issues. You can consult a professional dietitian to ensure that your child gets the right amount of nutrients every day. There might be a chance that your kid might have a problem with swallowing; in that case, you should consult a specialist. 


● Encourage them to stay active: For kids with DMD, it is essential that they stay physically active. Regular exercising and stretching will keep your child’s muscles and joints mobile and help them feel better and more energetic. If your child is unsure about exercising, you can hire a physical therapist who can help your child exercise safely.


● Help them cope with behavioral problems: Boys with DMD might struggle with behavioral problems. They have a harder time with impulsivity and emotional control than the other boys their age. Besides, they are quite rigid with their thinking patterns, which can result in aggressive behavior and non-compliance. So, be kind and patient when dealing with your child. Help them cope with this issue and teach them different ways how they can alter their thinking patterns. 


Final Thoughts 


Dealing with duchenne muscular dystrophy can be very challenging for your kid. While you provide them with all the necessary medical support, what they also need is your emotional support. Hence, make sure to stay by their side all the time and keep encouraging them to live a better life.


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