Becker muscular dystrophy
- Becker's muscular dystrophy
- Benign pseudohypertrophic muscular dystrophy
- Muscular dystrophy pseudohypertrophic progressive, Becker type
- Muscular dystrophy, Becker type
Your QuestionI am a physician who frequently sees patients with Becker muscular dystrophy. Can you provide me with patient-friendly information about this condition?
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Questions on this page
- What is Becker muscular dystrophy?
- What are the signs and symptoms of Becker muscular dystrophy?
- What causes Becker muscular dystrophy?
- How is Becker muscular dystrophy inherited?
- How is Becker muscular dystrophy diagnosed?
- How might Becker muscular dystrophy be treated?
- What is the long-term outlook for people with Becker muscular dystrophy?
In X-linked recessive inheritance, a female with one mutated copy of the gene in each cell is called a carrier. Female carriers of X-linked recessive conditions have a 50% (1 in 2) risk to pass on the mutated gene to each child. Male children have a 50% risk to be affected, and female children have a 50% risk to be a carrier. Female carriers usually do not have signs or symptoms of the condition. Occasionally, females who carry a DMD mutation may have muscle weakness and cramping. These symptoms are typically milder than the severe muscle weakness and wasting in affected males. Females who carry a DMD mutation also have an increased risk to develop heart problems, including dilated cardiomyopathy.
In about two thirds of cases, an affected male inherits the mutation from his mother who carries a mutated copy of the DMD gene. The other third of cases probably result from new mutations in the gene.
Exams in a person with BMD may reveal:
- Abnormally developed bones, leading to deformities of the chest and back (scoliosis)
- Abnormality of heart muscle function (cardiomyopathy)
- Congestive heart failure or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- Muscle deformities
- Contractures of heels and legs
- Fat and connective tissue (pseudohypertrophy) in calf muscles
- Muscle wasting that begins in the legs and pelvis, then progresses to the muscles of the shoulders, neck, arms, and respiratory system
Laboratory tests that help confirm the diagnosis include:
Physical therapy can help with stretching tight muscles and using assistive devices; occupational therapy can help with daily living skills; and speech therapy may help those with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Surgery may be needed for progressive scoliosis and development of contractures.
People with BMD should be monitored for orthopedic complications. Cardiac (heart) evaluations are recommended beginning at around 10 years old, or when symptoms first begin. Evaluations should be repeated at least every two years.
Some studies have shown that certain corticosteroids (such as prednisone or prednisolone) can slow the decline of muscle strength in people with Duchenne muscular dystophy; however, information about their use in people with BMD is limited. There are a number of additional therapies for BMD being studied. Potential future treatments for BMD may involve gene therapy, myoblast treatment, and/or the use of stem cells.
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- Kaneshiro NK, Hoch DB. Becker's muscular dystrophy. MedlinePlus. 2008; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000706.htm. Accessed 11/18/2009.
- Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). 2007; http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition=duchenneandbeckermusculardystrophy. Accessed 11/18/2009.
- Muscular Dystrophy, Becker. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2007; http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdbdetail_abstract.html?disname=Muscular%20Dystrophy%2C%20Becker. Accessed 11/18/2009.
- Benjamin R Mandac. Becker Muscular Dystrophy. Medscape Reference. September 3, 2013; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/313417-overview. Accessed 3/5/2014.
- Basil T Darras, David T Miller, and David K Urion. Dystrophinopathies. GeneReviews. November 23, 2011; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1119/. Accessed 3/5/2014.
- Becker Muscular Dystrophy. MedlinePlus. February 26, 2014; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000706.htm. Accessed 3/5/2014.
- Becker Muscular Dystrophy. Muscular Dystrophy Association. http://mda.org/disease/becker-muscular-dystrophy/overview. Accessed 3/5/2014.