Nemaline myopathy is a disorder that primarily affects skeletal muscles, which are muscles that the body uses for movement. People with nemaline myopathy have muscle weakness (myopathy) throughout the body, but it is typically most severe in the muscles of the face, neck, and limbs. This weakness can worsen over time. Affected individuals may have feeding and swallowing difficulties, foot deformities, abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis), and joint deformities (contractures). Most people with nemaline myopathy are able to walk, although some affected children may begin walking later than usual. As the condition progresses, some people may require wheelchair assistance. In severe cases, the muscles used for breathing are affected and life-threatening breathing difficulties can occur.
HOW IS NEMALINE MYOPATHY DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of the condition is done based on a complete clinical evaluation along with detailed family medical history. Diagnosis is confirmed by the general physician on observing the presence of thread- or rod-like structures (nemaline bodies) on muscle biopsy.
HOW IS NEMALINE MYOPATHY TREATED?
At present, Nemaline myopathy does not have a cure. Nemaline myopathy is a very rare disease that only affects 1 out of 50,000 on average, although recent studies show that this number is even smaller. There are a number of treatments to minimize the symptoms of the disease. The treatments and procedures to help patients with nemaline myopathy vary depending on the severity of the disease. A possible accommodation could be the use of a stabilizer, such as a brace. Other means include moderate stretching and moderate exercise to help target muscles maintain maximum health. As people with NM grow and develop throughout their lives, it is important for them to see a variety of doctors regularly, including a neurologist, physical therapist, and others, such as speech therapists and psychologists, to help both the patient and family adjust to everyday life.