Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the more common, severe muscle-wasting conditions. It causes muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasing disability.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by genetic mutations on the ‘X’ chromosome. These mutations prevent the body from producing a vital muscle protein, dystrophin, which is needed to build and repair muscle.
Most people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy are diagnosed by the age of five and use a wheelchair by the time they are 12. Many face severe health problems by their late teens as the muscles of their heart and lungs weaken.
Although the condition is severely disabling, many people living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy lead full and active lives.
Few people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy currently live to see their 30th birthday although with medical advances, life-expectancy is improving. The right specialist healthcare and equipment can also make a significant difference to both quality and length of life.
About 2,400 people in the UK have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, most of them male.
The first drug treatment addressing the cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Translarna is due to become available as soon as the Department of Health and NHS England agree to approve its use. It will be relevant for about 10-15 percent of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Several other promising potential treatments are now in clinical trials.
Find out more
- We have a wide range of resources for people living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- The Duchenne Research Breakthough Fund aims to accelerate progress in research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- We are campaigning to ensure potential treatments like Translarna become available as soon as possible.
Find out more about Duchenne muscular dystrophy in our Duchenne muscular dystrophy condition factsheet.
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