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How Many Types Of Muscular Dystrophy Are There?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an inherited disease that causes disabilities due to weakened or degenerated muscles. It is a slowly progressive disease that affects usually voluntary muscles of the body.1 This happens because defective genes are passed to the individuals from one or both the parents. These genes codes information for the production of a protein named dystrophin. Its symptoms and appearance depend on the type and severity of muscular dystrophy. In this article, the common types of muscular dystrophy are discussed.

How Many Types Of Muscular Dystrophy Are There?

Muscular dystrophy has more than 30 types, but the below ones are the most common types:

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Duchenne is a most common and most severe form of muscular dystrophy.2 It is most prevalent form and covers about 50% of all the cases of muscular dystrophy. It usually appears in males in their early infancy in the age of 3-5 years.

Its symptoms include falling down, waddle while walking, and difficulty in riding from sitting or lying position, running or jumping. In some cases, calf muscles may get enlarged due to fat accumulation.

The life expectancy of this muscular dystrophy is very short. The child loses his ability to walk in the age of 12 years and dies in his teenage and 20s due to heart or lung failures.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Becker is similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy.2 It occurs mainly in males in the age between 11 -25.

Its symptoms include falling a lot, walking on tiptoes, and difficulty in rising from floor and cramps in the muscles.

They can usually walk but may need wheelchair and support in severe cases in their teenage, middle age or later.

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy

Myotonic is a type of muscular dystrophy which develops in adults.2 In this, muscles cannot relax after a sudden contraction. Its symptoms involve drooping eyelids, difficulties in swallowing, cataracts, visual impairments, baldness, weight loss, drowsiness, infertility, and heart problems in severe cases that may cause death.

Men and women both are affected by this muscular dystrophy in the adulthood in the age between 20 to 30 years.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Congenital is a type of muscular dystrophy that develops in the infant from birth.2 This type of muscular dystrophy influences the central nervous system. The infant has problems with muscle coordination, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), deformities in the foot, intellectual disabilities and problems with swallowing and breathing from the birth itself.

It affects both male and female infant and most of them die in infancy and few of them survive until adulthood with mild disability.

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy

In facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, face, shoulders and upper arms are affected. Its symptoms start with difficulty in opening mouth that progress to difficulties in swallowing, wasting of shoulder muscles, hearing problems and swayback curvature in the back.

It usually starts in the teenage in both girls and boys. However, it can appear up to the age of 40 years. It can be mild or severe.

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy

Limb-Girdle affects both males and females. It affects primarily muscles of shoulder, legs, and neck. Its symptoms involve falling down, difficulties in rising from chairs, climbing high through stairs, carrying an object and a rigid back.

Distal Muscular Dystrophy

Distal affects muscles forearm, hands, lower legs, and feet. It causes difficulties in hand movements, walking, climbing stairs and standing on heels. It appears in the age of 40s and 60s in both men and women.

Emery – Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy

Emery – Dreifuss symptoms involve weakness in upper arm and lower leg. The patient walks on their toes. It develops boys only in the age between 10-20 years. The patients develop heart disease by the age of 30 years and die in mid-adulthood.


Muscular dystrophy is a set of genetic diseases that may cause degeneration and wasting of muscles. There are more than 30 types of muscular dystrophy. The common and most prevalent types of muscular dystrophy such as Duchenne, Becker, myotonic, congenital are discussed above.


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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