The symptoms of Becker muscular dystrophy include delayed gross motor milestones for example late walking, running, jumping and difficulty in climbing stairs. The gait can be affected leading to toe-walking gait. The weakness leads to increased number of falls and difficulty in rising from the floor. The lower limbs are more severely affected than the upper limbs with symmetrical, proximal weakness.
Gower’s sign is seen in muscular dystrophies. It manifests such the patient has to use his hands and arms to walk up his own body from a squatting position due to lack of hip and thigh muscle strength. Subclinical Becker muscular dystrophy might occur with atypical presentations like focal myopathy, cramping during exercise and isolated cardiomyopathy.
There may be joint contractures; for example of the Achilles tendon or at the elbow. Also, pseudohypertrophy of the calves is observed. There are cases of patients presenting without weakness but with symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy. The disease eventually causes the patient to become dependent on the wheelchair.
The complications of Becker muscular dystrophy include progressive weakness which can cause joint deformities and medical emergencies for cardiac and respiratory symptoms.
Progressive disability, dialted cardiomyopathy, scoliosis, dysphagia, joint contractures, functional constipation and a need for ventilator support even may occur in the long run. The complications due to being wheelchair bound include restricted respiratory activity due to inter-coastal and diaphragm weakness.
After a thorough history has been taken and a physical examination has been performed, a diagnosis of Becker muscular dystrophy may be confirmed with the following-
Raised serum creatine kinase up to 10-100 times the normal level. Deletion analysis of the dystrophin gene shows specific deletions in majority of the cases. Muscle biopsy confirms the diagnosis of Becker muscular dystrophy. The biopsy shows dystrophic features and reduced dystrophin staining. Liver function tests might show elevated levels if aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase.
Muscle histological studies will demonstrate the degeneration of muscle fibres and focal necrosis coupled with regeneration and fat replacement of the degenerated muscles. Laboratory studies are confirmatory if there is a family history of Becker muscular dystrophy and the typical symptoms. Genetic testing of carriers helps in diagnosing the disease in the prenatal antenatal period  . An affected male will pass the defective genes to all his daughters which are carriers of the disease. The male children of these carriers have a 50% risk of being affected.
The development of scoliosis can be checked by spinal radiographs.
An electromyography will guide in identifying the muscle groups to be checked by biopsy and it will aid in distinguishing a muscular and a primarily nerve process. An electromyogram might show normal nerve conduction with borderline/low evoked muscle potentials . An electrocardiogram may show cardiomyopathy while an echocardiogram will show arrhythmias. Progressive respiratory weakness will be detected on pulmonary testing.
Since it’s a genetic disorder, treatment is aimed only at giving symptomatic relief, preventing and treating complications. Close involvement of a pulmonologist, cardiologist and orthopaedist are important in case management. The pulmonologist will deal with pulmonary disorders arising due to the muscle weakness and breathing restriction .
Orthopedicians will be able to provide relief in the scoliosis that might occur at later age . Surgical intervention might help correct scoliosis, contractures or muscle transfers to preserve mobility.
The discovery of various assistive devices helps them gain confidence and lead an independent life. Active lifestyle, own work, driving, enjoyment etc. can be experienced by people affected with Becker muscular dystrophy. They can even participate in various sports activities, theme parks, marathons under special categories.
Physiotherapy, recreational therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy etc. aid in managing the symptoms of the disease. Regular cardiac and pulmonary monitoring is necessary.
Stretching of tight muscles and education regarding energy conservation techniques, joint protection techniques and preventing overuse fatigue are essential and can be achieved via physical therapy. Occupational therapy will assist in specific adaptations like zipper clothes, grab bars, elevated toilet seats in bathroom to make everyday chores simpler.
Dysphagia may improve with the help of a speech therapist. Avoiding specific solid foods and feeding positions can also help. The risk of aspiration might be evaluated with the use of high-end videofluoroscopy.
There is a promising future for some upcoming therapies that might help in treating patients with Becker muscular dystrophy. Gene therapy has been showing some promising results in the past decade and might evolve into an accurate therapy to correct targeted genetic defects  .
The progression of Becker muscular dystrophy is highly variable. Severity of the disease will depend on the onset of the disease and the age of the patient.
Becker muscular dystrophy results in slow but escalating disability and in due course of time the patients need a cane or a wheelchair. The degree of the symptoms and the complications will impact the quality of life of the patient.
Death can occur anytime after the age of 40 depending on the severity of the disease though some patients do have a nearly normal lifespan.
Muscle cells remain intact due to dystrophin. Lack of dystrophin causes cells to be breakable and get easily damaged. The dystrophin gene is located on the X-chromosome.
Due to mutation of this dystrophin gene, there is insufficient dystrophin production in the muscles. This causes weakness of the muscles.
In case of Becker muscular dystrophy, there is presence of partially functioning dystrophin which prevents complete and rapid degeneration of the muscles.
Becker muscular dystrophy is an X linked disorder hence it mainly affects males with an estimated incidence of one per 30,000 males . There can be incidence of female carriers though most affected females are asymptomatic.
The age range for the onset of Becker muscular dystrophy is 2 to 21 years while the mean age for its onset is around 11 years . The mean age at which the patient suffering from Becker muscular dystrophy becomes immobile is from about 12 to 30 years.
Death may be caused due to respiratory or cardiac failure at a mean age of 25 to 60 years.
Becker muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disease characterized by gradually increasing muscle wasting and weakness due to degeneration of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle. The dystrophin gene is located on the X chromosome.
Since females have two X-chromosomes they remain only carriers and may not manifest any symptoms. Males have one X and one Y chromosome. Hence, if they inherit the defective gene they develop symptoms of muscle weakness and fatigue.
Dystrophin levels in Becker muscular dystrophy are generally 30-80% of normal . Becker muscular dystrophy is less severe as it involves production of functional dystrophin which is absent in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
There are no guidelines for prevention of Becker muscular dystrophy.
Becker muscular dystrophy is an X-linked recessive inherited disorder. Becker muscular dystrophy was initially described by Becker and Kiener .
It is one of the many muscle diseases in which there is inadequate dystrophin production in the muscle cells causing the muscle cell membrane structure to be instable. Becker muscular dystrophy is related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) as both are caused due to a mutated dystrophin gene. Becker muscular dystrophy is less severe than DMD.
Becker muscular dystrophy is an X-linked recessive inherited disorder. It is a disease affecting the muscles characterized by gradually increasing muscle wasting and weakness due to degeneration of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles. Becker muscular dystrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy are both caused due to a mutated dystrophin gene.
Becker muscular dystrophy is less severe than Duchenne as the gene is partially functioning. The dystrophin gene of X-chromosome undergoes mutation causing reduction in production of dystrophin in the muscles leading to weakness of the muscles.
This disorder manifests symptoms only in the males while females can be carriers of the disorder. Patients suffering from Becker muscular dystrophy experience delayed walking, running and jumping. They have great difficulty in climbing stairs due to weakness of the muscles. The gait is often affected leading to toe-walking gait. Due to this, they have a tendency to fall often. After falling they find it difficult to raise themselves without assistance.
Serum creatinin kinase levels may be elevated. An electromyography shows that weakness is caused by destruction of muscle tissue and not by nerve damage. A muscle biopsy or genetic testing confirms the diagnosis of Becker muscular dystrophy.
As age progresses Becker muscular dystrophy leads to severe muscular degeneration and hence, the patients need a cane or a wheelchair. The severity of the disorder and its complications will affect the quality of life of the patient. Activity is encouraged. Inactivity or sitting down for too long can worsen the muscle disease. Assistive devices can improve the mobility of the patient.
Physiotherapy, recreational therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy etc. aid in managing the symptoms of the disease. Life-expectancy can be normal or shortened due to complications like dilated cardiomyopathy or respiratory failure.