MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY

About the Condition

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that causes muscle degeneration and weakness, progressing to the point where the individual does not have the strength to stand or sit up without support.  Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common, affecting boys only as women carry the gene and pass it on to half of their male children.

Symptoms

  • Poor head control.
  • Frequent falls.
  • Difficulty climbing stairs.
  • Affects the muscles of hips, thighs, calves and shoulders first, eventually spreading to the whole body.
  • After around age 12, children are confined to wheelchair.
  • May cause respiratory infections as the muscles are too weak to function properly.

Useful Tips for Patients & Caregivers

Pay attention to what you are eating.  Good nutrition and weight control are very important as this disease leads to a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

The following tips may help too:

  • Start physical therapy early to strengthen muscles to help to delay muscle weakness as long as possible.
  • Keep hand sanitiser and take measures to prevent germs from spreading in the home.
  • Get annual flu shots.
  • Provide help with mobility around the home or when on outside visits.
  • A walking frame, walking stick or wheelchair may help with outdoor activities.
  • Provide general support with day to day living.
  • Develop a rota for preparing meals or doing household tasks to be shared among other family members.
  • Ensure assistance is provided with personal care.
  • Visiting nurses, caregivers and occupational therapists can assist with ways of adjusting to incontinence.

REAL PATIENT CASE STUDY

Dominic, 21, has muscular dystrophy.  He spent his day sitting in an electric wheelchair which didn’t always provide the support and comfort he required.  He got the opportuity to try a Seating Matters chair at his day centre and noticed how comfortable and safe he felt.

READ DOMINIC’S STORY

Selecting the Right Chair

It is very important that the chair is adjustable to allow it to meet the changing needs of the person as their condition changes.  For patients with muscular dystrophy, the chair will need to become more supportive as time goes on and it is good to start with a chair that you can add accessories to as new symptoms arise.

The Sorrento™ and Phoenix™ in particular are designed to suit the needs of those with muscular dystrophy.  These two Seating Matters chairs are highly adjustable and accessories can be included at a later date if they are not needed at the initial assessment.  This allows the chair to meet changing patient needs over a long period of time.  These chairs are also available as part of our Kidz Range, as well as for adults.

Both the Sorrento and Phoenix come in manual and powered options.  Manual adjustment leaves the control of the seating positions to the caregiver. Partially motorized options give the user of the chair more independent control to change the angle of tilt in space and their leg elevation as and when desired.  Fully motorized options give the user of the chair control to change the angle of tilt in space, their leg elevation and the back angle recline as and when desired.

Bear in mind, each person is different and so you must use clinical judgement, knowledge of the patient, environmental considerations and personal preferences before deciding on which Seating Matters chair to use.