Muscular Dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases in which the muscles that control movement (voluntary muscles) become progressively weaker. In some forms of this disease, the heart and other organs are also affected. There are nine major forms of muscular dystrophy: Myotonic, Duchenne, Becker, Limb-girdle, Facioscapulohumeral, congenital, Oculopharyngeal, Distal, and Emery-Dreifuss. MD can appear from birth to anytime in life, and it’s serverity and form are determined (in part) by the age it develops.
The most common form of muscular dystrophy in children is Duchenne. Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects only males and normally appears between the ages of 2 and 6. The muscles decrease in size and grow weaker over time yet may appear larger. The progression of the disease varies, but many people with this form of Muscular Dystropy need a wheelchair by the age of 12. In most cases, the arms, legs, and spine become progressively deformed, and there may be some cognitive impairment. The later stages of the disease are marked by severe breathing and heart problems and those with Duchenne MD usually die in their late teens or early 20s.