source: The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
Muscular dystrophies (MD) are common neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) disorders, characterised by loss of muscle strength and bulk. Duchenne (doo-shen) muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common type of muscular dystrophy, affecting about one in every 3500 boys.
DMD is caused by a gene change or alteration, called a genetic mutation, in the dystrophin gene on the X chromosome.
DMD can occur randomly in a family or be inherited. Females are not usually affected by the symptoms of DMD, but can be carriers of the condition and pass it on to their children. Some carriers experience mild symptoms such as muscle weakness or cramping. Female carriers of DMD are also at risk of developing cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) and should be reviewed by a cardiologist every few years.