Muscular dystrophy

Muscle-wasting disease

Muscular dystrophy is a general term for a range of muscle-wasting diseases, like Duchenne MD and myotonic dystrophy

About

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a general term for a range of conditions that can lead to a gradual weakening of your muscles and severe disability. Around 70,000 people in the UK have MD. It's often inherited from parents and tends to affect young boys. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure. But we can help you or your child to manage the symptoms.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of Muscular dystrophy icon plus

    MD is brought on by mutations in the genes responsible for your muscles. Eventually, these mutations can affect your muscle fibres and cause increasing disability. There are different types of MD (see below), each with their own set of symptoms. Generally speaking, the signs and symptoms tend to show up at an early age. These might include:

    • difficulty getting up after sitting or lying down
    • difficulty running and jumping
    • muscle pain and stiffness
    • falling over frequently
    • learning disabilities
    • large calf muscles
    • walking on toes
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your or your child's symptoms with you. They may also carry out a series of tests to make a diagnosis. These might include electrical tests, blood tests and muscle biopsies.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for muscular dystrophy. However, we can help you or your child to manage the symptoms. Your consultant will discuss your treatment options with you. These might include:

    • surgery to repair posture issues
    • medication to alleviate heart and muscle problems
    • mobility assistance through physiotherapy or occupational therapy

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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