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Missouri Neurosciences Center
Muscular Dystrophy

What is muscular dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a broad term that describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the muscles. Muscular dystrophy causes the muscles in the body to become very weak. The muscles break down and are replaced with fatty deposits over time.
Other health problems commonly associated with muscular dystrophy include the following:

  • Heart problems
  • Obesity
  • Scoliosis. A lateral, or sideways, curvature and rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.
  • The most common forms of muscular dystrophy are Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy. The two forms are very similar, but Becker muscular dystrophy is less severe than DMD.  Females are rarely affected by either of these two forms of muscular dystrophy.

What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy is usually diagnosed in children between three and six years of age. Early signs of the illness include a delay in walking, difficulty rising from a sitting or lying position, and frequent falling, with weakness typically affecting the shoulder and pelvic muscle as one of the initial symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of muscular dystrophy. Each child may experience symptoms differently.

  • Clumsy movement
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Facial weakness
  • Frequently trips and falls
  • Inability to close eyes or whistle
  • Leg pain
  • Shoulder and arm weakness
  • Tip toe walking
  • Unable to jump or hop normally

Types of diseases coverd by MDA:

  • ALS
  • Charcot Marie Tooth neuropathy
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myotonic dystrophy

To schedule an appointment with one of our muscular dystrophy specialists, please call (573) 882-1515.

For more information about muscular dystrophy and support group information please visit www.mdausa.org.

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