An overlooked disease

It seems like virtually every month of the year is linked to bolstering the awareness of a particular disease or illness. On the positive side, it’s a key way many organizations use to hold events to raise funds for research as well.

On the downside, there seems to be illnesses and conditions that get a bit lost in the myriad of causes that each month brings. That’s a sad state of affairs, as those battling the lesser known diseases need and deserve the same levels of support that other societies and agencies seems to drum up with relative ease.

One such disease that seems to get a bit overlooked is muscular dystrophy.

September begins Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s awareness campaign.

More than 50,000 Canadians are affected by a neuromuscular disorder. Through awareness-building, information and education and by funding leading-edge research, people can be the link to help enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders.

Muscular dystrophy is the name for a group of neuromuscular disorders that are characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles that control body movement.

As muscle tissue weakens and wastes away, it is replaced by fatty and connective tissue.

Each form of muscular dystrophy is caused by an error in a specific gene associated with muscle function; however, specific disorders within this group vary in many ways. The muscles involved are different from one disorder to another.

The severity of the symptoms, the age at which the symptoms appear, how fast the symptoms progress and what pattern of inheritance the disorder follows, are all factors which differ among the various forms of muscular dystrophy.

Even within a specific disorder, several individuals with the same disorder may experience the disorder and its symptoms quite differently.

Muscular dystrophies are genetic disorders.

Forms of muscular dystrophy can be passed on from generation to generation, or they can occur spontaneously in a single individual as the result of a mutation of a particular gene. Contrary to popular belief, muscular dystrophy is not exclusively a childhood disorder – anyone can be affected.

While some types of muscular dystrophy are first evident in infancy or early childhood, other types may not appear until later in life.

Over time, persons with neuromuscular disorders may lose the ability to walk, speak, and ultimately breathe.

For some individuals, the disorder is fatal. There is currently no cure.

While there was a walk back in June, September does mark the month is about raising awareness and funds for this debilitating condition. It’s important to not forget these campaigns that don’t get the publicity of others that have significantly more support.

Check out www.muscle.ca.

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