OHSU

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of conditions that weaken muscles. These conditions are caused by defects in certain genes. The type of MD someone has depends on which gene has a defect.  

Because parents pass genes down to their children, muscular dystrophy runs in families. It gets worse over time. People with MD can be weak and have problems with coordination and movement.

Causes of muscular dystrophy

Each type of muscular dystrophy is caused by a different genetic defect. The defect can pass from:

  • Mother to son
  • Father or mother to son or daughter
  • Both parents to son or daughter

A genetic counselor can tell you if you carry genes that cause MD. The counselor can also tell you if you are likely to pass the genes down to your children.  

Symptoms of muscular dystrophy

The different types of muscular dystrophy cause different symptoms. Some common symptoms of MD include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Loss of ability to move that gets worse over time 

Symptoms of MD depend on the age symptoms appeared, which parts of the body are affected and other factors.

The OHSU Spine Center doctors work with experts at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital to treat muscular dystrophy. Meet the experts