Shining the spotlight on Muscular Dystrophy and matters of the Heart

Why not go green for Muscular Dystrophy this September?

Have you ever heard of Muscular Dystrophy? It’s often represented in TV series and movies, especially medical dramas! However, there is a lot more to know about this group of conditions than what is depicted in the media. As September is recognised as Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month, there’s no better time to share some related information and insights. 

Green ribbon for muscular dystrophy awareness
Wear green for Muscular Dystrophy

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is an umbrella term given to a group of more than 70 different neuromuscular disorders. All of these different disorders are characterised by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles. Each of the conditions presents differently and ranges in complexity and severity, and each person diagnosed experiences their own unique health journey. 

The complications of progressive muscle weakness can include trouble walking, trouble using one’s arms, shortening of muscles or tendons around joints, breathing problems, a curved spine, heart problems and swallowing problems. The prognosis and life expectancy are dependent on the type of muscular dystrophy, speed of progression, and the nature of complications experienced. 

The condition is usually inherited, as each disorder is caused by a genetic mutation particular to that type of disease. These conditions are not contagious and cannot be brought about by accident or injury. The disorders affect around 1 of 1200 people in the general population. Muscular dystrophy occurs in both sexes and in all ages and races. However, the most common variety, Duchenne, usually occurs in young boys. 

Individuals living with disabilities frequently report experiencing mental health concerns and emotional distress almost five times more often than when compared to individuals without a disability. Mental health care is incredibly important for both those diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition and their caregivers. 

What can we do?

There is no cure for Muscular Dystrophy, but medications and therapy can help manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease. Extensive research into a cure is underway and new information and clinical trials emerge regularly. 

Want to play a part in bringing awareness and increased insight into muscular dystrophy? During September it’s easy to be a part of the movement. Why not try the following: 

  • Wear green in September in order to spread awareness and show support. 
  • Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month features several social media campaigns, which anyone can help to amplify by using the designated hashtags. Hit that Instagram and Facebook search button and see what you can find. 
  • Community walks and runs in support of Muscular Dystrophy and Physical Disability are commonly held. Use Google and Facebook to see if there are any events happening in your area during the month of September, and then grab your running shoes! 

If you are interested in finding out more about Muscular Dystrophy, we recommend visiting the following websites: 

  1. Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa:
  2. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy:
  3. Muscular Dystrophy Association:

Moving on to Matters of the Heart

World Heart Day

“The heart, it’s the first and last sign of life. The heart is peace, unity and love” – The World Heart Federation.   

The World Heart Federation started World Heart Day, which is celebrated on the 29th of September each year. This global campaign aims to raise awareness about risk factors and behaviours that can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), including tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Ensuring that this education takes place is vital as CVD, including strokes and heart attacks, account for nearly half of non-communicable disease (NCD) related deaths worldwide. On the 29th of September individuals, families, communities and governments take action by participating in activities that help take charge of heart health. 

This World Heart Day, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on how heart disease and mental health are closely linked. Mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, can increase the risk of heart disease, and feeling lonely or being socially isolated can affect your heart health. Anxiety and depression are also common experiences after having a heart attack or heart surgery. The good news is that there are many ways you can look after your heart health and mental wellbeing, including talking to your doctor, attending cardiac rehabilitation, making healthy lifestyle changes and staying connected with others. 

This World Health Day we invite you to join the movement by taking part in one of the following activities: 

  • Visit the World Heart Federation’s website to learn more about their organisation, and to read their 2022 World Heart Day fact sheet:
  • Share a healthy meal with a friend or family member.
  • Enjoy a walk around your Faircape Healthcare Centre and Village with some of your favourite company. 

At Faircape Health the social work team offers counselling and support services related to mental health and holistic wellbeing to patients and residents in need of a safe and confidential space to explore their mental health needs.

World Heart Federation. Welcome to the World Heart Federation. Available at: (Accessed: 26 August 2022).

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