Protect your Heart in Muscle Dystrophy

Author: Ayush Muscular Dystrphy Society
Heart related complications in muscular dystrophies are serious concern. The cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmias are caused by defects in cardiomyocyte and cardiac conduction system function. Unlike the skeletal muscle degenerative process, for which treatment options are currently limited, therapy is available for the cardiovascular complications. New therapies for muscle degeneration are moving into clinical trials and are expected to also improve the cardiac function, longevity and wellbeing of muscular dystrophy patients.

The muscular dystrophies are muscle destroying disorders. There are at least 21 different monogenic causes of muscular dystrophy, and cardiovascular complications are commonly associated with some subtypes.[1] Currently there is no established cure but data available to support various anti-oxidants and ayurvedic herbs such as Curcuma longa and Terminalia arjuna, based approaches to management of cardio myopathy. Cardiomyopathy in the muscular dystrophies can develop to heart failure.

There are several subtypes of muscular dystrophies, which are categorized based on genetics and molecular pathogenesis:-
(1) The Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex: Being important for membrane stability, it plays a particularly important part in the muscular dystrophies, because mutations in the genes that encode its constituent proteins result in a distinct group of progressive degenerative muscle disorders. [2,3] Mutations in the genes encoding dystrophin or the SARCOGLYCAN proteins cause myofibers and cardio myocytes to be abnormally susceptible to contraction-induced damage.[4—6] The loss of the dystrophin protein, as occurs in most forms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, is associated with destabilization of all the dystrophin-associated proteins, including the sarcoglycans. [7] Membrane instability in cardiomyocyte and skeletal myofibers is associated with leakage of muscle-specific enzymes into the serum. Creatine kinase levels are substantially raised in these patients, and both the MM and MB isoforms are detected. Elevation of the MB isoform often indicates cardiomyocyte degeneration.
(2) Telethonin, Titin and Myotilin: Mutations in these genes lead to rare forms of muscular dystrophy.[9—13] Telethonin is thought to be important for passive stretch in cardiomyocytes.
(3) Nuclear Membrane Proteins: The LMNA gene encodes the inner nuclear membrane proteins lamin A & C. They regulate a number of nuclear processes, including DNA replication, transcription, chromatin attachments and nuclear transport.[14]
(4) Additional Membrane-Associated Proteins: Dysferlin is a transmembrane protein that binds phospholipids in a calcium dependent manner and is highly expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscle.[15—18] Mutations in DYSF result in abnormal muscle membrane repair.

New experimental therapies for muscular dystrophies are now emerging. Gene replacement therapy, Ayurvedic Rasayana based therapies are also being explored for the regeneration of muscles. The cardiac problems associated with some forms of muscular dystrophy sometimes need treatment. Terminalia Arjuna has remarkable cardio protective, heart muscle strengthening properties. Current scientific research has proved that plant contains specific medically active constituents namely triterpine glycosides like arjunetosides I, II, III, IV, arjunine and arjunetein, phytosterols, rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper. Regular use of Arjuna improves pumping activity of heart, improves cardiac muscle strength, decrease in LDL cholesterol levels. It has been reported to possess protective cardiovascular and hypolipidemic properties.[19-20] Finally, growth-factor-based gene therapy is emerging as a successful approach for stimulating muscle growth.
Cardiac arrhythmias can be life threatening, and muscular dystrophy patients should be monitored closely for signs and symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia events. As with all cardiomyopathy patients, treatment aimed at arrhythmia prevention should be sought. And from this point of view, ayurvedic therapies and remedies are good options. Mamsagmi Rasayana is a promising molecule being scientifically verified. Get more assess at

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About the Author
The Ayush Muscular Dystrophy Society has been active in the field of authentic Ayurvedic supportive treatment and rehabilitation since 1995. A number of families of afflicted children are registered with AMD society, which is involved in helping families with information about all aspects of NMD including Ayurvedic and other complementary medical support, physiotherapy, diet, monitoring the breathing, and updates about what is new in the form treatments that may be in the pipeline.

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