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Why do I have weak muscles and restricted movement?

Q: After 40 years of age, my right leg started getting numb, which lead to a tendency of dragging the leg. The leg joint started clamming up and the leg muscle power got slack. This went on till 43 years of age and my movement got restricted. After 43, both the leg muscles slackened and stopped functioning as it lost its power. After 45 years I lost the flexibility from knee to the lower ankle. The feet become inactive thus making me incapable of stepping confidently. The legs became thin and I was not able to walk without firm support. After 46, I was able to walk with support on plain surface but was not able to climb steps or walk on uneven surface. Maintaining the balance became impossible as the knee and legs felt very weak so I was not able to stand without support. If some obstruction came while walking, like a small stone under the foot it became very difficult to resist from falling down. There is a sense of incapability and fear. The leg remains cooler than normal. I have a long history of this condition in the family. My mother had the same history and got bedridden and at the age of 55. She became totally immobile and died at 65. My elder brother had the same problem, which started at the age of 42 and he got completely restricted and had to take the help of a wheel chair at the age of 54. He died due to cardiac arrest at 55. My elder sister too had the same problem, which started at the age of 42 and made her restricted. She had to drag herself around or use a wheel chair. My second elder sister is leading a normal life without any restriction to her extremities (lower). She is 48 plus. She has no symptoms in this regard. I get irritated very fast. I had a calm temperament but recently have become very irritable and get angry on small pretext. I have no neuro cramps after sitting for long hours. But normal tingling sensation that a normal person gets after sitting for long hours is missing.

A:You and your family members seem to be suffering from familial muscular dystrophy. This is a genetic disorder in which the muscle cells die off gradually after a certain age. It affects members of a family and has no known remedy. Research is ongoing on its treatment. You should consult a neurologist for palliative treatment. Genetic counselling is needed in order to prevent transmission to the next generation.

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