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Can A Woman Have Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of diseases in which muscles get weakened and damaged over the time.1 It is an inherited disease caused due to the deficiency of a protein named dystrophin. An individual with muscular dystrophy have difficulties in walking, swallowing and coordination of muscles. It can appear at any age, but it is most common in childhood. It mostly affects males in their childhood. In rare cases, the disease is seen in women. The effects of the disease vary from person to person upon the type and severity of its symptoms. Till today, no treatment is known to cure muscular dystrophy.

Can A Woman Have Muscular Dystrophy?

Can A Woman Have Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is known to affect males mostly.2 However, some of the types of muscular dystrophy may occur in women also but it occurs rarely. Women carry the faulty gene and may pass them to her children, but they rarely suffer from the disease. Women have two X chromosomes that determine her sex. To get muscular dystrophy, both X chromosomes must be mutated and defective and come from both the carrier parents. However, this happens very rarely.

Types of muscular dystrophy that appears in a woman are-

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy– it is a most common type of muscular dystrophy. Both men and women are affected which starts in anytime from early childhood to adulthood.3

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy– it develops in between teenage and adulthood. Both men and women are affected. It becomes difficult to walk for the patient within 20 years of its appearance.

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy– it also appears similar to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. It develops in both man and woman.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy– it is present from birth and it appears in both men and women in the first few months of life.

Distal Muscular Dystrophy– it is a rare and less severe form of muscular dystrophy. It affects only forearms, hands, lower legs and feet.

Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy– it develops in between childhood and early teenage usually affecting males. It rarely affects women. Its progress is slow and it is less severe than other muscular dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy is defined as a group of inherited disease that causes degeneration and weakness of muscles over the time. It usually affects voluntary muscles that control the movement of the body. If it affects muscles meant for the movement of a person, he may get bound to use a wheelchair. In some cases, it may also affect the muscles of vital organs such as the heart and lungs that may cause life-threatening conditions.

Muscular dystrophy represents a group of 30 genetic diseases. It may range from mild to moderate to severe conditions. The type and cause of the disease may decide the severity of a case. It influences the quality of one’s life and the person may get disabled. The life expectancy of some of the types of muscular dystrophy is short and most of them die in their early adulthood. However, in some types, the affected individual may possess mild effects on their muscles and can live a normal life. In some cases, it becomes so severe that it may result in heart and lung failure leading to sudden unexpected death. Most of the patients die in their early 20s in such cases.

Muscular dystrophy can develop at any age. Its progress to degeneration of the muscles is also gradual and slow. Its appearance is usually seen in infancy however, it may also appear in middle age or later. Its appearance in a particular age depends on its type and severity.


Muscular dystrophy is a term that defines a group of inherited disease affecting voluntary muscles of the body. In some cases, it may affect the heart and other organs of the body. Most cases of muscular dystrophy are seen in man. However, a few cases are also prevalent in a woman that weakens her muscles.


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:August 1, 2019

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