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Difference Between MD and MS

MD vs MS

There are various differences between Muscular Dystrophy and Multiple Sclerosis, although often, there seems to be confusion about the two medical conditions. Muscular Dystrophy and Multiple Sclerosis are two very distinct conditions and the pathological differences cannot be over emphasized.

While Multiple Sclerosis is a primary neurological disease that often affects the spinal cord and typically causes problems with strength and weight gain, Muscular Dystrophy is an exclusively muscular disease and it does not in any way affect the central nervous system. Sometimes the confusion with Multiple Sclerosis comes with another disease known as muscular atrophy, also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also a primary neurological disease.

Multiple Sclerosis presents and progresses asymmetrically and sensation results from the loss of myelin from nerve sheaths. On the other hand, Muscular dystrophy is characterized by symmetrical muscle wasting and distribution of weakness in the muscles. Sensation is not affected at all in this case, hence MD clearly falls in a distinct disease group from MS as it does not affect nerve cells.

There are various forms of the Muscular dystrophy disease, most commonly known being Duschebbe’s, which mainly prevails in children and adolescents. Others include Myotonic muscular dystrophy which is very prevalent among young adults and will sustain up to 20 years. Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy progresses much slower than other Muscular Dystrophies. Other forms of MD do not cause significant disability and are generally not that much life-shortening. However, Multiple Sclerosis is very rare in children below 10 years and will often offset in the 20′s and later years. Age of onset is another key differentiating factor between MS and MD.
One factor to note is that all forms of Muscular Dystrophies are hereditary while Multiple sclerosis is not. There isn’t yet any clear genetic link to Multiple Sclerosis that has been found.

Multiple Sclerosis in mild form will usually have no significant effect on the life expectancy of the patient, although a few aggressive types may lead to death. However, the current situation is that many MS sufferers will go on and live healthy and active lives. The case is not the same with Muscular Dystrophy as most forms of the disease will ultimately lead to death. Children diagnosed with the disease often die within a few years.

1. MD is a muscular disease while MS is a primary neurological disease.
2. MS progresses asymmetrically causes sensation while MD progresses symmetrically and no sensation is unaffected.
3.MD is hereditary while MS is not hereditary.
4.MS rarely occurs in young people while MD offsets in young and adolescent people.

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  1. I (MY FAMILY) –have a situation, I have two sets of twin sisters –the first set of twins were both diagnosed with MS, the second set of twins the one sister was diagnosed with MS while the other one doesn’t have it. Now years ago my grandma took to her bed ( that now we find out she had MS, her Mother , (My Great-grandma) had the same and my aunt had the same — they say MS—they lived to be older then 60 years of age. My sisters are still living. I am reading MS is not hereditary –I have a problem believing this — .

  2. There is some misinformation in this explanation. FSHD – facioscapulohumeral dystrophy – is one of the nine major forms of muscular dystrophy. It is NOT symmetrical on both sides of the body. Severity ranges from mild to completely disabling and there is a wide range in between. There is also infantile and childhood onset FSHD.
    There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and this article is one of them.

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