The complications of progressive muscle weakness include:

  • Inability to walk. Some people with muscular dystrophy eventually need to use a wheelchair.
  • Shortening of muscles or tendons around joints (contractures). Contractures can further limit mobility.
  • Breathing problems. Progressive weakness can affect the muscles associated with breathing. People with muscular dystrophy may eventually need to use a breathing assistance device (ventilator), initially at night but possibly also in the day.
  • Curved spine (scoliosis). Weakened muscles may be unable to hold the spine straight.
  • Heart problems. Muscular dystrophy can reduce the efficiency of the heart muscle.
  • Swallowing problems. If the muscles involved with swallowing are affected, nutritional problems and aspiration pneumonia may develop. Feeding tubes may be an option.
Nov. 27, 2014

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.