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