Donate to Muscular Dystrophy Research, Patient Care and Education

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a term that refers to a number of diseases that cause progressive loss of muscle mass, resulting in weakness and, sometimes, loss of mobility. A genetic disorder, MD is characterized the breakdown of muscle and by the replacement of that muscle tissue with fatty deposits. Muscular dystrophy is divided into nine types, some of which cause symptoms early in life, while other do not develop until adulthood. Some symptoms of MD in children  include clumsiness, trouble jumping or hopping, leg pain and the inability to open or close the eyes. Children are usually diagnosed with the disorder between the ages of three and six.

The nine forms of MD include:

  • Becker: This type of dystrophy progresses slowly. It usually appears in adolescents and adults. Affected patients generally live into middle age.
  • Congenital: This disease is slow-progressing. It is present at birth and muscle degeneration may be mild or severe and is restricted to skeletal muscle.
  • Duchenne: It is the most common form of muscular dystrophy and symptoms typically occur in early childhood. Life expectancy is usually in the 20s.
  • Distal: These are typically less severe and progress more slowly through adult life.
  • Emery-Dreifuss: This type of disease causes slow but progressive wasting of the upper arm and shoulder muscles, as well as lower leg muscles. It typically occurs in childhood and early teens.  
  • Facioscapulohumeral: Onset is usually in the teenage years but may occur as early as childhood or as late as age 40. Initially affects the muscles of the face, shoulders and upper arms.
  • Limb-Girdle: Symptoms typically appear in childhood to teenage years. This disease slowly-progresses affecting hip and shoulder muscles first.
  • Myotic: Typically affects the face, neck, hands and feet first, then all muscles. It is the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults.
  • Oculopharyngeal: This form of disease typically affects the eyelid and throat muscles and typically begins around the age of 40 or 50, affecting both women and men.

With your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help Northwestern Medicine’s multidisciplinary team of specialists–including neurologists, pulmonologists, nurses, dietitians, genetic counselors and physical and occupational therapists–to continue to deliver outstanding, personalized, comprehensive care to patients of all ages who affected by MD and other neuromuscular conditions.

Our care team provides an array of  diagnostic, rehabilitative and supportive services. Some of these services include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Positioning aids
  • Braces and splints
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Psychological counseling

While there is no cure for MD, certain medications and other treatment approaches (such as physical and occupational therapy) can help to alleviate the discomfort of certain symptoms symptoms, to prevent physical deformities and to improve quality of life.

Muscular Dystrophy Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will provide crucial support to physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine as they strive to advance pivotal research into MD, to enhance diagnostic and treatment methods for the disease and to provide the most complete and most compassionate care to every patient and family affected by MD. 

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