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At What Age Is Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosed?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a cluster of disorders that are genetically inherited and are characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles that are responsible for movement in the body.1

At What Age Is Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosed?

At What Age Is Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosed?

Different types of muscular dystrophy are diagnosed at different ages. Age is one factor used in classification of muscular dystrophy into 9 different types. Other factors are the extent of the spread of disease and the pattern of inheritance.

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy

  • It is the commonest form of muscular dystrophy in adults
  • It is seen in both males and females
  • It can appear at any time from childhood to later ages
  • This disease is characterized by prolonged stiffness of muscles after movement, specially aggravated in cold seasons
  • The life expectancy in this disease is usually less

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

  • This is the commonest form of Muscular dystrophy in children 1
  • This is seen to be affecting only males
  • It is usually seen to be starting between ages 2 to 6
  • Most cases face deformities of arms, legs and spine and may need a wheelchair very early in their lives
  • The life expectancy in this disease is usually up to late teens or early twenties

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

  • Becker muscular dystrophy has some similarities with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but is comparatively milder than that.
  • The symptoms start later in life and progress slowly.
  • This type also is seen to be affecting only males.
  • Life expectancy is usually beyond 30s in this type of muscular dystrophy.

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy

  • This type of muscular dystrophy affects both males and females.
  • It is seen to be starting in late teens or early adulthood.
  • In this type, the muscular weakness starts in the hip muscles and progresses to the shoulders, arms and then legs.2
  • Over time, walking becomes increasingly difficult.
  • Those suffering from this type have a life expectancy of about middle age to late adulthood.

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy

  • This type involves the weakness of facial, shoulder blade and upper arm muscles
  • This affects both males and females
  • It is greatly varying in severity
  • It may cause very mild muscle weakness or a disabling one
  • The muscle weakness may cause problems with chewing, swallowing speaking etc.
  • Most people affected with this type can walk throughout their lives and their life expectancy is near to normal

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

  • This type is present at the time of birth 3
  • This type progresses very slowly
  • This can affect both males and females
  • This type may cause muscle weakness at the time of birth or within a few months of birth

Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

  • This type affects the eye and the throat
  • This type is usually seen beyond 40s to 60s
  • This type progresses very slowly and causes problems with eye and face
  • It may lead to swallowing difficulty
  • In later stages, it may result in weakness in pelvic and pectoral muscles

Distal Muscular Dystrophy

  • This is a rare group of diseases
  • It affects both men and women in adulthood
  • It causes wasting of the distal muscles- the muscles that are far from the center, like those of forearms, feet etc.
  • It is comparatively a less severe type and is seen to be progressing more slowly
  • It also affects fewer muscles than other forms

Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy

  • This type is seen to be appearing in childhood or early teens and affecting mainly males. Females are affected very rarely
  • This is also a rare form of muscular dystrophy
  • It causes muscle wasting in shoulders, upper arms and legs
  • Muscle shortening can be seen in early stage of the disease
  • Chest and pelvic muscles may get weakened
  • This type is slowly progressing one and affects fewer muscles as compared to other types of muscular dystrophy
  • Muscular dystrophy is a genetically inherited group of almost over 30 disorders. They are characterized by progressive and degenerative muscle weakness and wasting.
  • Muscular dystrophy is diagnosed at any age from infancy to adulthood, and is classified accordingly into various types.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 24, 2019

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