Muscle deterioration occurs due to the death of muscle cells and muscle tissues, resulting in a genetic disease called muscular dystrophy, according to Medical News Today. The disease causes progressive weakness and degeneration of voluntary muscles.
People with muscular dystrophy experience ongoing muscle wasting and muscle weakness, states Medical News Today. It worsens over time, causing disability and difficulty in walking that require leg and hand braces. Eventually, the patient needs to use a wheelchair. Muscle weakness typically starts in the legs, making it difficult for a person to walk normally or causing him to walk with widely distanced feet to maintain balance. Frequent falls, pain in the calves and limited range of motion are common in people with muscular dystrophy.
Medical News Today reports that some forms of muscular dystrophy manifest during childhood, while others do not appear until middle age or later. The most common type of muscular dystrophy is Duchenne MD, which mainly affects boys and occurs due to the absence of the dystrophin, a protein that helps maintain muscle integrity. It starts between 3 and 5 years of age and progresses quickly. Most boys with this disorder cannot walk by age 12 and require a wheelchair. They also typically need a respirator later in life.