At first, muscle weakness and wasting within the pelvic (hipbone) area occurs followed by similar problems in the shoulder muscles. Eventually, muscle weakness and wasting affect the trunk and forearms then spread to other major muscles of the body.
Other less common forms of muscular dystrophy are facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD or Landouzy-Dejerine syndrome, affecting mainly facial, shoulder and arm muscles), limb-girdle muscular dystrophy and myotonic dystrophy.
Depending on the type, symptoms of muscular dystrophy may include a waddling way of walking; difficulty climbing stairs or rising from sitting; and repeated falling. As the disease worsens, other abnormalities may develop, such as curvature of the spine, wasting of thigh muscles, abnormal enlargement of the calves and enlargement of the heart.
Causes and Risk Factors
Defective genes are the cause of muscular dystrophy. The specific gene disorder is known for most common muscular dystrophies. There are many less common forms where the specific defect needs to be discovered. A family history of the condition is often, but not always, present.