There are nine major forms of muscular dystrophy:

1. Myotonic (also known as MMD or Steinert’s disease)

Myotonic is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults. Myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD) affects both men and women, and it generally appears any time from early childhood to adulthood. In rare cases, it appears in newborns (congenital MMD). This symptom is generally worse in cold temperatures. The myotonic muscualar dystrophy causes muscle weakness and also affects the central nervous system, heart, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, and hormone-producing glands. In most cases, daily living isn’t restricted for many years. Those with myotonic MD have a decreased life expectancy.

2. Duchenne
Duchenne is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in children, Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects only males. It appears between the ages of 2 and 6. The muscles decrease in size and develop weaker over time yet may appear larger. Disease progression varies, but many people with Duchenne (1 in 3,500 boys) need a wheelchair by the age of 12. In the majority cases, the arms, legs, and spine become progressively deformed, and there may be several cognitive impairment. Severe breathing and heart problems spot the later stages of the disease. Those with Duchenne MD usually die in their late teens or early 20s.

 Symptoms of Duchenne mascular dystrophy:

  • Walking problems
  • Waddling gait
  • Falls
  • Difficulty standing up
  • Difficulty in climbing stairs
  • Difficulty in descending stairs
  • Lordosis
  • Firm-looking muscles
  • Enlarged muscles
  • Enlarged calf muscles
  • Progressive muscle degeneration
  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Progressive muscle wasting
  • Frequent falls
  • Difficulty in standing from sitting position
  • Progressive spinal curvature
  • Wasted pelvic muscles
  • Wasted shoulder muscles
  • Wasted thigh muscles
  • Wasted trunk muscles
  • Wasted arm muscles
  • Joint contractures
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Intellectual impairment 
  1. Becker


This form is similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but the disease is much milder: symptoms become visible later and development more slowly. It generally appears between the ages of 2 and 16 but can appear as late as age 25. Like Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy affects only males (1 in 30,000) and causes heart problems. Disease severity varies. Those with Duchenne can generally walk into their 30s and survive further into adulthood.

  1. Limb-girdle

Limb-girdle appears in the teens to near the beginning of adulthood and affects males and females. In its most common form, Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy causes progressive weakness that begins in the hips and moves to the shoulders, arms, and legs. Within 20 years, walking becomes hard or impossible. Sufferers usually live to middle age to late adulthood.

  1. Facioscapulohumeral

    Facioscapulohumeral refers to the muscles that move the face, shoulder blade, and upper arm bone. This form of muscular dystrophy appears in the teens to early adulthood and affects males and females. It progresses gradually, with short periods of fast muscle deterioration and weakness. Severity ranges from extremely mild to entirely disabling. Walking, chewing, swallowing, and speaking problems can take place. About 50% of of those with facioscapulohumeral MD can walk throughout their lives, and the majority live a normal life length.

  2. Congenital

Congenital means present at birth. Congenital muscular dystrophies growth slowly and influence males and females. The two forms that have been recognized Fukuyama and congenital muscular dystrophy with myosin deficiency — cause muscle weakness at birth or in the first few months of life, along with severe and early contractures (shortening or shrinking of muscles that causes joint troubles). Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy causes abnormalities in the brain and frequently seizures.

  1. Oculopharyngeal

Oculopharyngeal means eye and throat. This form of muscular dystrophy appears in men and women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. It progresses slowly, causing weakness in the eye and face muscles, which can lead to trouble swallowing. Weakness in pelvic and shoulder muscles may arise later. Choking and recurrent pneumonia may occur.

  1. Distal

This group of rare diseases affects adult men and women. It causes weakness and wasting of the distal muscles (those farthest from the center) of the forearms, hands, lower legs, and feet. It is usually less severe, progresses more slowly, and affects less muscles than other forms of muscular dystrophy.

  1. Emery-Dreifuss

    This rare form of muscular dystrophy appears from childhood to the early teens and affects only males. It causes muscle weakness and wasting in the shoulders, upper arms, and lower legs. Life-threatening heart problems are common and can also influence carriers — those who have the genetic information for the disease but do not develop the full-blown version (including mothers and sisters of those with Emery-Dreifuss MD). Muscle shortening (contractures) occurs early in the disease. Weakness can spread to chest and pelvic muscles. The disease progresses slowly and causes less severe muscle weakness than some other forms of muscular dystrophy.