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Muscular dystrophy is a whole group of hereditary muscle disorders characterized by weakening of the muscles used to move the body. This condition is extremely disabling, causing the progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscular proteins and even the destruction and death of muscle cells and tissues. There are more than hundred different disorders similar to muscular dystrophy and nine medical conditions are always considered a type of muscular dystrophy. The exact prognosis largely depends on the type of disease that affects the individual and these nine conditions include Duchenne, Becker, limb girdle, congenital, facioscapulohumeral, myotonic, cytopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss.

Muscular dystrophy prognosis

The prognosis for muscular dystrophy varies depending on the type and the progression of the disorder. In some cases, the disease progresses slowly and people may have more or less normal lifespan. However, certain conditions result in substantial muscle weakness and rapidly lead to functional disability. Some children, born with muscular dystrophy, are very likely to die in infancy, while the others may acquire only a certain level of disability. Generally, the condition is more severe and the prognoses are worse if it occurs in early childhood.

Muscular dystrophy life expectancy

Becker's muscular dystrophy is a less severe form of the disease and patients affected with this type of dystrophy usually live into old age.

Congenital muscular dystrophy has an onset at birth, and it is usually associated with decreased lifespan. In some cases, this condition is associated with severe brain malformations, such as lissencephaly and hydrocephalus. Children with lissencephaly are severely impaired and usually die within several months of birth. Hydrocephalus is a medical condition characterized by abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. It can also cause early death.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common childhood form of muscular dystrophy. This condition is associated with short lifespan. In most of the cases, children will need a wheelchair as teenagers, and they usually die in their early 20s. However, some people may live up to 40 years.

Distal muscular dystrophy is slow progressing and doesn’t affect the patient’s lifespan.

Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy is present in the childhood or in early teenage years. In some patients, it may result in cardiac conduction defects and arrhythmias, which may increase the risk of stroke and sudden death.

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy generally manifests by the age of 20 years. Life expectancy is normal but most of the patients will require a wheelchair.

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is associated with losing the ability to walk between ages 10 and 12. Patients usually die in their 20s or early 30s.

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