Muscular dystrophy describes a group of genetic muscle diseases that cause muscle weakness.
What is going on in the body?
Each of the diseases that make up muscular dystrophy are progressive. This means these diseases get worse over time. In one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, there is a genetic defect in a certain muscle protein. The genetic defects that cause the other forms of muscular dystrophy are not as well understood.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The cause is genetic and these diseases are inherited from either one or both parents. The main risk of these conditions is that the muscles become too weak. This may make a person unable to walk or even unable to breathe. Death occurs at a young age in many cases of muscular dystrophy.