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Illness & Conditions - Definition

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a rare inherited disease of the nerves and muscles that occurs mostly in males. The most common type of muscular dystrophy causes rapid muscle wasting and progressive weakness early in life, usually between the ages of 2 and 5.

Muscle wasting begins in the shoulder and pelvic areas. Fat and connective tissue may grow into muscles and cause abnormal enlargement (hypertrophy), especially in the calf muscles of the legs. Within several years muscular dystrophy affects the muscles of the upper body and arms. Eventually all the major muscles are affected.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Treatment involves controlling symptoms.

Last Revised: June 11, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology

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