Some types of muscular dystrophy shorten the person's lifespan, often by affecting the muscles associated with breathing. Even with improved mechanical breathing assistance, people who have Duchenne muscular dystrophy — the most common type of muscular dystrophy — usually die of respiratory failure before they reach age 40.
Many types of muscular dystrophy can also reduce the efficiency of the heart muscle. If the muscles involved with swallowing are affected, nutritional problems may develop.
As muscle weakness progresses, mobility becomes a problem. Many people who have muscular dystrophy will eventually need to use a wheelchair. However, the prolonged immobility of joints associated with wheelchair use can worsen contractures, in which the limbs draw inward and become fixed in that position.
Contractures may also play a part in the development of scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine that further reduces lung efficiency in people who have muscular dystrophy.
Jan. 18, 2012
- Muscular dystrophy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/md/detail_md.htm. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Muscular dystrophies and other muscle diseases: Hereditary myopathies. Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Chinnery PF. Muscle diseases: Muscular dystrophies. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Disorders of skeletal muscle. In: Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Nov. 3, 2011.
- Darras BT. Patient information: Overview of muscular dystrophies. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 4, 2011.
- Kohler M, et al. Disability and survival in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 2009;80:320.
- Ishikawa Y, et al. Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Survival by cardio-respiratory interventions. Neuromuscular Disorders. 2001;21:47.
- Harrison T. Muscular dystrophy. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed Nov. 4, 2011.
- Carter GT, et al. Aging with muscular dystrophy: Pathophysiology and clinical management. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2010;21:429.
- Darras BT. Treatment of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed Nov. 4, 2011.
- Borg K, et al. Myopathies. In: Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Nov. 4, 2011.
- Darras BT, et al. Myotonic dystrophy: Prognosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 4, 2011.
- Bushby K, et al. Diagnosis and management of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, part 1: Diagnosis, and pharmacological and psychosocial management. The Lancet Neurology. 2010;1:77.
- Bushby K, et al. Diagnosis and management of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, part 2: Implementation of multidisciplinary care. The Lancet Neurology. 2010;2:177.
- Selcen D (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 13, 2011.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.