A woman deals with muscular dystrophy

Types of Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that result in progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. Though this is a rare condition, there are over 30 different types of muscular dystrophy. Here are some of the most common.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

This is the most common type of muscular dystrophy, with over half of patients being diagnosed with this variety. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is also more common among children, and the majority affected are boys. Symptoms for this type of muscular dystrophy will typically begin between the ages of two and three. Individuals affected by this disease will usually require a wheelchair before their teenage years and have a typical life expectancy of late teens or early 20s.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy has similar symptoms as Duchenne, but it is less severe. Becker muscular dystrophy is also more common among boys, and symptoms usually do not begin to appear until ages 11 to 25. Individuals with this disease will not usually need a wheelchair until their late 30s (if at all), and the life expectancy is middle age or later.

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy is also known as Steinert’s disease and is characterized by an inability to relax muscles at will after contractions occur. Individuals with myotonic muscular dystrophy usually don’t begin to show symptoms until adulthood, with the face and neck muscles typically the first to be affected. Although symptoms can affect the quality of life, this type of muscular dystrophy is usually not life-threatening, and individuals can potentially live into old age.

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy

FSHD muscular dystrophy usually begins in the face and shoulders and can develop any time between childhood and age 40. Despite some handicaps, most individuals with this disease will have a full lifespan.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy is usually discovered between birth and age two, because parents notice that their child’s motor functions and muscle control are not developing as they should be. The majority of individuals with congenital muscular dystrophy will be unable to sit or stand without help, and the typical life expectancy will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some with this disease will die in infancy while others may live into adulthood.

Limb-girdle Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy causes weakening and loss of muscle in your body. It usually originates in the shoulders and hips, but it eventually progresses to the legs and neck as well. This disease affects males and females equally. Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy will usually cause disabilities in individuals by age 20, but it has no impact on your life expectancy.

Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

OPMD muscular dystrophy causes weakness in the face, neck, and shoulder muscles, and it occurs in both men and women. This type of muscular dystrophy is usually not diagnosed until you have reached your 40s or 50s.

Distal Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy affects the muscles in your forearms, hands, calves, and feet. It can also have an impact on your respiratory system and heart muscles as well. Individuals are typically diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 60 years old.

Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy

This type of muscular dystrophy is usually seen in boys more often than girls and tends to begin in childhood. Emery-Dreifuss causes problems with breathing as well as the heart. Most individuals with this disease will pass away from heart or lung failure in mid-adulthood.