What is muscular dystrophy?

Posted on May 17th, 2023

Author: Michael McGrath, MHF’s CEO

Our charity’s CEO Michael gives a brief overview of Muscular Dystrophy (MD) in this blog.

MD is a genetic disorder that weakens the muscles and makes it difficult to move. It affects people of all ages, and there are many different types of MD, each with their own set of challenges.


There are many different types of MD, with different symptoms and patterns of inheritance. Some forms of the disease are more severe than others, and the onset of symptoms can vary widely, from infancy to adulthood. Currently, there is no cure for MD, but treatments are available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

As the muscles become weaker, individuals with MD may have trouble with everyday activities such as walking, running, and climbing stairs. Over time, the disease can lead to respiratory and cardiac problems, as well as difficulties with swallowing and speaking.

Living with MD can be incredibly challenging, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are some of the key challenges that people with MD face:

  1. Limited mobility: One of the most obvious challenges of living with muscular dystrophy is limited mobility. As the muscles weaken, it becomes harder and harder to move around, and many people with muscular dystrophy eventually require a wheelchair or other mobility aid to get around.
  2. Fatigue: Muscular dystrophy can cause extreme fatigue, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. Even simple activities like getting dressed or brushing your teeth can be exhausting, which can be frustrating and demotivating.
  3. Breathing and respiratory difficulties: In some cases, muscular dystrophy can affect the muscles that control breathing, making it difficult to breathe properly. This can be particularly challenging at night when people with muscular dystrophy may need to use a breathing machine to help them breathe while they sleep.
  4. Social and emotional isolation: Living with muscular dystrophy can be very isolating and emotionally challenging. Coping with the physical limitations of the condition can be difficult, and individuals with muscular dystrophy may face social isolation, discrimination, and stigma. However, with the support of loved ones, medical professionals, charities (like ours) and community resources, individuals with muscular dystrophy can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Here at MHF, we are on a mission to ensure families living with MD receive wonderful life experiences called Muscle Dreams that not only enrich but also bring joy to vulnerable young people and their families. That is why we deliver transformational experiences because we know that the impact these have are far reaching both in the short-term, but the benefits as we know also last long into the future.

If you would like to talk about sponsoring one of our flagship Muscle Dream programmes or perhaps you’ve got a fundraising idea, click HERE to get in touch and let’s have a conversation.

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