Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy

The symptoms of muscular dystrophy vary, depending on the type of condition. Some of the most common include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of muscular coordination
  • Progressive wasting of the muscles, which may cause crippling
  • Contracture of muscles around the joints
  • Loss of mobility in the limbs, especially around the joints

There may be other specific signs of muscular dystrophy, depending on each of the type. The progression of the disease may also affect the symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of Duchenne's MD usually begin to manifest between the ages of 2 to 3. The signs and symptoms of Becker's MD have slower progression and are seen in men in their late teens. The onset of the symptoms may begin at the age of 11 and continue to the mid twenties, after which the progression speeds up. Both these muscular dystrophies have similar signs and symptoms: The signs include:Enlarging of the calf muscles

  • Lack of muscular coordination
  • Frequent falls
  • Shuffling or wadding gait
  • Difficulty in getting up, especially when lying or sitting on a low surface
  • Difficulty in running, skipping or jumping.
  • Weakness in lower legs
  • In rare cases, there may be mild mental retardation

The symptoms of myotonic dystrophy are similar to those of joint related progressive diseases. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Weakening of both voluntary and involuntary muscles, especially those that control the limbs.
  • Weakening of the muscles in the face and the head. This causes the face to have a droopy appearance.
  • Dizziness and fainting caused when the muscles of the heart and the conduction of electrical signals within the heart muscles are affected.
  • Weakening of muscles in the neck, preventing both breathing and swallowing. Weakness of the breathing muscles may cause constant fatigue, while the weakness of the swallowing muscles may make a person prone to choking.
  • Weakening of the muscles that form the digestive tract, affecting metabolism and digestion.
  • Weakening of the uterus in women, affecting menstrual cycles and fertility.
  • Frontal balding
  • Diabetes
  • Formation of cataracts
  • Inability to sleep properly
In case of facioscapulohumeral MD, there may be progressive weakening of the muscles all over the body. This may include the upper body as well as the pelvic area and the lower limbs.