Muscle-wasting conditions like muscular dystrophy may be more prevalent than previously thought

Posted on March 23rd, 2022

Muscle-wasting conditions, such as muscular dystrophy (MD), are individually rare, but together they touch the lives of significant numbers of people in the UK. Until recently, it was unclear just how many people were affected. 

However, new research funded by Muscular Dystrophy UK has shone a light on this subject and revealed that there may be far more people living with muscle-wasting conditions than previously thought.

Dr Iain Carey and his team at St George’s University in London reviewed millions of healthcare records from GPs across the UK and estimated that there were around 110,000 people affected by a muscle-wasting condition in 2019. That’s an extra 40,000 people compared with an earlier estimate of 70,000.

Muscle-wasting conditions such as muscular dystrophy (MD) can have a profound and lifelong impact on the health and quality of life of those affected and there is now an urgent need to ensure that sufficient healthcare resources are available to meet the complex needs of this growing population.

Rare diseases are often overlooked and underfunded, yet this study has revealed that muscle-wasting conditions collectively may actually be as common as better known conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease.

At a time when health and social care budgets are stretched tighter than ever, this study is vitally important to ensure that our community receives the resources it needs.

Of the conditions included in this study, muscular dystrophy was the third most common and it was estimated that there may now be almost 20,000 people affected in the UK. It may be officially classed as a rare disease, but muscular dystrophy certainly touches the lives of a lot of families. Click here to read more extensively about this comprehensive study.

The Muscle Help Foundation charity continues to play a vital role in supporting the muscular dystrophy community across the UK. We are currently running a national fundraising campaign with a simple mission – to raise £100k so that we can achieve our mission to deliver 657 transformational interventions for children and young people (8-28yrs) with muscular dystrophy.


As of March 2022, 425 Muscle Dreams have been delivered, leaving a further 232 to go – the charity’s overarching goal is to deliver 657 Muscle Dreams, that’s one for every muscle in the human body.

Find out how you or your organisation can support our #powerof657 fundraising campaign by contacting mission HQ today.


Steph Carter PhD CMPP
MHF Charity Volunteer Copywriter

Freelance Medical Writer
Lyrical Medical Writing Services

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