Since we first met Leah Messer nearly a decade ago, the Teen Mom 2 star has taken us along for the emotional and inspiring journey of her daughter Aliannah’s battle with muscular dystrophy. In the early days of Teen Mom 2, Leah, her ex Corey Simms, and fans alike were thrilled to learn that she finally had a diagnosis — Titin’s muscular dystrophy, a rare form of the disease that hadn’t ever been seen in children — but worried about what that meant for her future. Keep reading to find out more about the disease.
What’s the average life expectancy for someone with muscular dystrophy?
The average life expectancy for someone with Duchenne muscular dystrophy — the most common kind — is 26 years old. However, these statistics range greatly depending on the kind of MD the patient has, and there’s no definite answer when it comes to Titin’s for Ali, being that she’s the youngest person (and one of about 20 patients total) with this form of the disease.
How does the disease affect Ali?
When Ali’s long-term doctor revealed the diagnosis, he told Leah and Corey, that — over time — Ali would lose muscle strength and respiratory function and will likely be confined to a wheelchair at one point. However, Ali’s parents have made sure that they won’t let her condition slow her down, and on countless occasions they’ve praised her for being an inspiration and never letting her disease slow her down.
In a new Instagram post, Leah gushed, “Muscular dystrophy won’t stop our girl! We always want her to know that if she can dream it, then she can do it! We believe in her like she believes in herself!”
Is muscular dystrophy genetic?
Yes, MD is a genetic disorder and can be inherited from one’s parents. Because of this, Ali’s doctor, Dr. Tsao, wanted Ali’s twin sister Aleeah (aka Gracie) to be checked — but thankfully, she got a great bill of health.
“I just got back from Columbus, they said that [Ali] was getting stronger and she was going fine. They actually want to get Gracie tested for MD as well, so I’ll have to take her back up there and they’ll have to do the bloodwork and then we’ll know,” Leah explained. “She’s a child of Corey and I’s, and we carry the gene. She hasn’t been tested. We thought that she had been tested, but I guess that was for some other research. The possibility of her even having it is worrisome to me.”
Later, when Leah learned that her other daughter was not at risk for the disease, she expressed relief — but said she had a feeling that Gracie was healthy. She explained, “I felt pretty confident that she didn’t have it, so I wasn’t too worried about it.”
What treatment options are currently available?
According to Muscular Dystrophy Canada, "physical and occupational therapy, proper respiratory care, exercise, assistive devices, and orthopedic surgery may help to preserve muscle function and enhance quality of life."
Love Teen Mom? Be sure to join our Teen Mom Facebook group to chat about all the latest updates and juicy gossip!