Causes of Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited condition that is transmitted genetically. There are several types of muscular dystrophies and each of them is transmitted through a specific gene mutation. The dystrophy is passed from one generation to another through an X recessive gene, which means that women seldom experience any symptoms of this condition even though they may be carriers of the gene mutation. The female carrier herself has almost 50% chances of passing on the gene to her children. A woman, who is the carrier of this gene, may pass the disease to male children. Female children will usually only become carriers. In rare cases, females also experience the symptoms of muscular dystrophies. The causes of muscular dystrophy are usually only genetic. There may be some new mutations of the genes, in which case the muscular dystrophy may not have been passed on from the parent. Another cause of muscular dystrophy is a genetic deficiency of a protein known as dystrophin. This is a muscle protein which helps feed the muscles so that they can continue to grow. The lack of this protein may cause the muscle tissues to degenerate. This destruction leads to muscle wasting.

Both Duchenne's MD and Becker's MD are passed from the mother to her sons. The X chromosome inherited from a carrier mother may or may not contain the mutated gene. Men are seldom the carriers of the mutation and almost always experience the symptoms associated with it. The disease often skips a generation until a male child of the family may inherit the affected chromosome and the mutated genes. The inheritance patterns of different gene mutations may differ from each other slightly.

Apart from the gender and the genetic disposition, there are rarely any other risk factors of muscular dystrophy.