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Duchenne muscular dystrophy

  • Alternative Names

    Pseudohypertrophic muscular dystrophy; Muscular dystrophy - Duchenne type


    There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Treatment aims to control symptoms to maximize quality of life. Gene therapy may become available in the future.

    Activity is encouraged. Inactivity (such as bedrest) can worsen the muscle disease. Physical therapy may be helpful to maintain muscle strength and function. Orthopedic appliances (such as braces and wheelchairs) may improve mobility and the ability to care for yourself.

    Support Groups

    You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See muscular dystrophy - support group. The Muscular Dystrophy Association is an excellent source of information on this disease.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads to quickly worsening disability. Death usually occurs by age 25, typically from lung disorders.

    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Congestive heart failure (rare)
    • Deformities
    • Heart arrhythmias (rare)
    • Mental impairment (varies, usually minimal)
    • Permanent, progressive disability
      • Decreased mobility
      • Decreased ability to care for self
    • Pneumonia or other respiratory infections
    • Respiratory failure

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • Your child has symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
    • Symptoms worsen, or new symptoms develop, particularly fever with cough or breathing difficulties