Muscular Dystrophy

What is Muscular Dystrophy? According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, muscular dystrophy (MD) describes a broad class of genetic diseases that cause muscles of the body to weaken over time.
How many types of Muscular Dystrophy are there? According to the Mayo Clinic, there are nine forms of MD. They are the following:

  • Myotonic—this is the most common form in adults. It usually appears any time from early childhood to adulthood.
  • Duchenne—This is the most common form in children. It affects only males. It appears between the ages of 2 and 6 years old.
  • Becker—This form is similar to Duchenne, but it is much milder. Symptoms appear later and progress more slowly.
  • Limb-girdle—This appears in the teens to early adulthood and affects males and females.. It causes progressive weakness that begins in the hips and moves to the shoulders, arms and legs.
  • Facioscapulohumeral—This condition refers to the muscles that move the face, shoulder blade and upper arm bone. It appears in teens to early adulthood. It affects both males and femailes.
  • Congenital—This condition is present at birth. It progresses slowly and affects both males and females.
  • Oculopharyngeal—This form affects the eye and throad and appears in men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. It progresses slowly and causes weakness of the eye and face muscles.
  • Distal—This group of rare diseases affect men and women. It causes weakness and wasting of the distal muscles of the forearms, hands, lower legs and feet.
  • Emery-Dreifuss—Another rare form appears at childhood to early teens and affects only males. It causes muscle weakness and wasting in the shoulder, upper arms and lower legs.

Life-threatening heart problems are common.

The most common form of MD in children is Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) is also relatively common. BMD is less severe than DMD.

While there is no cure for MD, combined methods of treatment can improve the child’s quality of life and life expectancy.

Facts about Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • It is unknown exactly how many people of all ages in the U.S. have the condition.
  • An estimated 1 of every 5,600 to 7,700 males 5 through 24 years of age had DBMD.
  • First symptoms were noticed at an average of 2.5 years.
  • Concerns about symptoms resulted in a primary care physician examining the child at an average of 3.6 years.
  • Diagnosis of DMD was at an average of 4.9 years of age.

For more information on muscular dystrophy in New Jersey, see Muscular Dystrophy Association-Red Bank at

In Marlton, NJ, visit the Muscular Dystrophy Association at or call 1-856-810-0800.