Muscular dystrophy symptoms

There may be many different symptoms of muscular dystrophy and some people may have much more severe symptoms than others. Symptoms tend to vary according to which type of muscular dystrophy the individual has.

Duchenne MD

Symptoms usually start to develop by the age of 3 and the muscles in the legs are usually affected first; common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Bulkier thighs than usual
  • Difficulty standing
  • Difficulty walking up the stairs
  • Behavioural problems

As the condition develops and advances the symptoms may become more serious and may include:

  • Curvature of the spine (also known as scoliosis)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Breathing difficulties

Once the heart muscle is affected and the individual starts to suffer from breathing difficulties, it is very likely that they will suffer from heart problems and may have a heart attack, which could prove fatal.

Becker MD

Many of the Becker muscular dystrophy symptoms are comparable to those associated with Duchenne MD; however, symptoms tend to develop much later on and are less aggressive than Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Children with Becker muscular dystrophy include:

  • Difficulty with exercise at school
  • Muscular pain and cramps
  • Delayed development (in terms of walking and running, for example)

Myotonic MD

Myotonic MD tends to affect the smaller muscle groups; common symptoms include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Problems with hormones
  • Cataracts
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Behavioural problems

As the condition develops, patients may also experience problems with their heart; common symptoms include sluggish and irregular heart beat.

Limb-girdle MD

Most people do not experience any symptoms until they reach adulthood; it affects the larger muscle groups and common symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the muscles in the hips, things and upper arms
  • Lost muscle strength and mass
  • Pain in the back
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Difficulty lifting
  • Problems with running
  • Complication when getting out of a seat that is low to the ground

Oculopharyngeal MD

Symptoms do not usually develop until the age of 50; common symptoms include:

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Frailty in the joints, especially the hips and shoulders
  • Difficulty with swallowing (also known as dysphagia)
  • Restricted movement of the eyes and surrounding facial muscles

Facioscapulohumeral MD

Symptoms usually vary according to the age of the individual and the severity of their condition; symptoms in childhood include:

  • Sleeping with eyes wide open
  • Inability to purse the lips
  • Inability to close their eyes tight


Muscular Dystrophy Birth Defects

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