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Muscular dystrophy

  • Alternative Names

    Inherited myopathy, MD


    There are no known cures for the various muscular dystrophies. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.

    Physical therapy may help patients maintain muscle strength and function. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs can improve mobility and self-care abilities. In some cases, surgery on the spine or legs may help improve function.

    Corticosteroids taken by mouth are sometimes prescribed to children to keep them walking for as along as possible.

    The person should be as active as possible. Complete inactivity (such as bedrest) can make the disease worse.

    Support Groups

    You can ease the stress of illness by joining support groups where members share common experiences and problems.

    See: Muscular dystrophy - support group

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The severity of disability depends on the type of muscular dystrophy. All types of muscular dystrophy slowly get worse, but how fast this happens varies widely.

    Some types of muscular dystrophy, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, are deadly. Other types cause little disability and people with them have a normal lifespan.

    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Decreased ability to care for self
    • Decreased mobility
    • Lung failure
    • Tightening of muscles around the joints (contractures)
    • Mental impairment (varies)
    • Scoliosis

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have symptoms of muscular dystrophy.
    • You have a personal or family history of muscular dystrophy and you are planning to have children.