About Muscular Dystrophy
The muscular dystrophies (MD) are a group of inherited genetic conditions that gradually cause the muscles to weaken. This leads to an increasing level of disability.
MD is a progressive condition, which means that it gets worse over time. It often begins by affecting a particular group of muscles before affecting the muscles more widely.
Some types of MD eventually affect the heart or the muscles used for breathing, at which point the condition becomes life threatening.
MD is caused by changes (mutations) in the genes responsible for the structure and functioning of a person's muscles.
These mutations cause changes in the muscle fibres that interfere with the muscles' ability to function. Over time, this causes increasing disability.
More than 70,000 children and adults in the UK have MD or a related condition.
Duchenne MD is the most common type of MD and affects around one boy in every 3,500 in the UK. The second most common type is myotonic MD, which affects around one person in every 8,000.
Facioscapulohumeral MD is believed to affect around 1 in every 20,000 people in the UK, which would make it the third most common type.
Although there is no cure for MD, a range of treatments can help with the physical disabilities and problems that may develop, including mobility assistance with the use of a wheelchair.