The muscular dystrophies are a group of muscle diseases which have three features in common: they are hereditary; they are progressive; and each causes a characteristic, selective pattern of muscle weakness.
Limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) is the common name for a diverse group of muscular dystrophies affecting mainly the pelvic (hip) and shoulder regions. There are more than 20 different subtypes – each caused by alterations to different genes. The different types of LGMD vary in severity, age of onset (when symptoms are first noticed) and how they are inherited. Some type’s progress to loss of walking ability within a few years and cause serious disability, while others progress very slowly over many years and cause minimal disability.
The LGMDs are genetic conditions caused by the presence of a mistake in the DNA (which is often referred to as a ‘mutation’). These DNA errors are within genes that contain the instructions for the production of proteins that are important for muscle maintenance and repair. The protein is then either not produced or doesn’t work properly.
People with LGMD experience weakness in the muscles in the top part of the arms, shoulders, hips and thighs. The weakness usually affects the legs first followed by the arms. Symptoms that might be noticed first include frequent falls and difficulty climbing stairs, running and rising from the floor.
Weak shoulder muscles can make it difficult to raise arms above the head, hold the arms outstretched, or carry heavy objects. Some types of LGMD may also cause weakness in the feet, ankles, calves, hands and wrists. A few specific types of LGMD may cause heart problems or weakness of the breathing muscles. Usually the muscles of the face are unaffected and the brain, intellect, and the senses are not impaired.
As the condition progresses, people with LGMD may start to have problems with walking and may need to use a wheelchair over time. LGMD is generally thought of as a condition that affects adults but some types do appear in young children. Severity can range from severely disabling with a wheelchair required in the teens to people who are still able to walk in their 50s and beyond.
It is difficult to give generalised information on how the condition will progress because LGMDs all progress at different rates, even within the same family. In addition, each different type has some specific features and characteristics, such as age of onset of symptoms and particular muscles involved.
Joshua Cooper’s Story
Here is a case report of Mr. Joshua Cooper, 29 years old, who had been exhibiting visible signs of LGMD since the year 2003.In the year 2006 he was diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular dystrophy. In spite of physical therapy and medications, he was not very happy with the results he had attained so far.
“I was on the lookout for something that could provide a definite improvement in my condition. While searching through the internet, I came across patient testimonial videos from NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute and thought about going there and visiting the doctors.” says Joshua Copper.
Joshua Copper first approached NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute in March 2013. On examination it was seen that complaints of fall while running, imbalance, slipping of chappals, early fatigue while walking, increased pain and sweating in bilateral lower extremities since 2003. Gradually, his weakness progressed in upper extremities as well. He started walking with support since 3-4 years, stopped with stair climbing since 3 years, difficulty in getting up from floor since 4 years. On assessment there was increased sweating while walking, early fatigue, difficulty in sitting for long without support, walks with help of crutch for 1 km on plain surface, without crutch can walk for 3-4 steps. He also had complaints of frequent falls (2-3/weeks).
At NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, he underwent stem cell therapy along with a customized rehabilitation program. He was given exercises to improve on his ankle toe movements, to strengthen his weak muscles and to improve his balance on standing. He was also given therapies to increase his overall stamina and to strengthen his lower and upper extremities. Together, the aim of the rehabilitation program was to improve his overall quality of life.
What Joshua Copper has to say
Joshua Copper underwent stem cell therapy at NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute in March 2013.
Detailed Facts About Improvements After Stem Cell Therapy
- Stamina is better.
- Can perform the exercises for more counts/repetitions now.
- Feels there is increase in imbalance while walking.
- There is increase in strength in upper extremities.
Joshua came for his first follow up check in August 2014 and his improvements are still maintained. On seeing the positive changes in himself, he plans on coming for a second session of stem cell therapy soon.