Muscular dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a group of rare hereditary muscle diseases characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness. Lack of a protein called dystrophin, causes problems with walking, swallowing, and muscle coordination. There are about 30 different types of MD. An estimate of overall prevalence of MD is 29 per 100,000 population, which means 1 in 3500 people may have muscular dystrophy.


The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 defines Muscular Dystrophy as a group
of hereditary genetic muscle disease that weakens the muscles that move the human
body and persons with multiple dystrophy have incorrect and missing information in
their genes, which prevents them from making the proteins they need for healthy
muscles. It is characterised by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle
proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue.

It is a group of inherited diseases that damage and weaken muscles over time. This
damage and weakness is due to the lack of a protein called dystrophin, which is
necessary for normal muscle function. The absence of this protein can cause problems
with walking, swallowing, and muscle coordination. Muscular dystrophy can occur at any
age, but most diagnoses occur in childhood. Young boys are more likely to have this
disease than girls. The prognosis for muscular dystrophy depends on the type and the
severity of symptoms. However, most individuals with muscular dystrophy do lose the
ability to walk and eventually require a wheelchair. 

Light green ribbon representing Multiple Dystrophy Day | © Pixaway



Certain genes are involved in making proteins that protect muscle fibers from damage.
Muscular dystrophy occurs when one of these genes is defective.
Each form of muscular dystrophy is caused by a genetic mutation particular to that type
of the disease. Many of these mutations are inherited. But some occur spontaneously in
the mother's egg or the developing embryo and can be passed on to the next

A ramp from ground to the back of a van, up on which is a motorized wheelchair. | © Pixaway


Statistics in India

As per a global research “Prevalence of Muscular Dystrophies: A Systematic Literature
Review” the total combined prevalence for all muscular dystrophies for studies classified
as having a low risk of bias ranged between 19.8 and 25.1 per 100,000 person-years.
Myotonic dystrophy (0.5-18.1 per 100,000), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (1.7-4.2) and
facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (3.2-4.6 per 100,000) were found to be the
most common types of disorder. However estimates vary significantly, and it is difficult
to ascertain the accurate prevalence rate of muscular dystrophy in India and the world.

References for More Reading and Understanding/Sources

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