About Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies

This section includes information on the causes of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, how affected boys end up with mutations in their dystrophin genes, the symptoms of DMD, and disease progression of DMD. The section also includes a review of chromosomes and inheritance.

What is Duchenne muscular dystrophy?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle disorder that causes loss of muscle function and independence.  Duchenne is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during early childhood, affecting approximately one out of every 3,500 males. There are approximately 15,000 young men living with Duchenne in the United States today. The Glossary Link gene Glossary Link mutation that causes Duchenne can happen during any pregnancy, even if no one else in the family is affected. To date, there is no cure or treatment that can completely stop the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Young men with Duchenne typically live into early adulthood.

What is Becker muscular dystrophy?

Becker muscular dystrophy is a slowly progressive muscle disorder that causes loss of function and varying degrees of loss of independence.  Becker affects approximately 1 in 20,000 males.  The gene mutation that causes Becker can happen during any pregnancy, even if no one else in the family is affected.  The symptoms of Becker typically begin in the teenage years, but may begin later.  Most people with Becker lose the ability to walk between ages 25-30.  To date, there is no cure or treatment that can completely stop the progression of Becker muscular dystrophy.

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