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Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms Managed Through Sleep Disorder Treatments

Update Date: Jan 16, 2017 09:23 PM EST
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Muscular dystrophy is a disease characterized by the gradual breakdown of the muscles in the body and are replaced by scar tissues and fat often affecting the heart. Besides suffering from the disease itself, people with muscular dystrophy also suffer from various sleep and respiratory disorders.

A recent study examines the use of sleep disorder treatments to manage symptoms of muscular dystrophy.

One of the most common types of muscular dystrophy is myotonic dystrophy. Like the rest of kinds of muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy patients also suffer from various sleep and respiratory disorders. A study conducted by the Newcastle Regional Sleep Service, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust categorized and treated myotonic dystrophy patients based on the sleep and respiratory disorders they are suffering from.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases, grouped myotonic patients based on the sleep disorders they are suffering from. One group were suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), another with daytime respiratory failure, another group from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), and the last group without any sleep or respiratory disorders as the control group.

Myotonic dystrophy patients suffering from OSA underwent continuous positive airway pressure treatment. Those suffering from EDS were given modafinil for their treatment and those suffering from daytime respiratory failure underwent non-invasive ventilation. Overall, only 29 percent of the patients benefitted from the treatments and continued with it. It was also able to manage symptoms of muscular dystrophy and their respective sleep and respiratory disorders.

Even though the results of the study were lower than expected this just means that further studies are needed to help determine therapy appropriate for myotonic dystrophy patients and how to effectively deliver the therapies. In addition, the researchers recommend the use of a standard classification system to categorize myotonic dystrophy patients based on their sleep or respiratory disorders.

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