Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disease that primarily affects very young males. A mutated gene causes DMD, but it also occurs occasionally in patients without any sign of an inherited genetic mutation. The disease progressively worsens, and sufferers are unable to walk by the time they get into their early teens. It poses a series threat to life but so far medical researchers have been unable to find any cure. The best that doctors can do is to provide some relief for its symptoms and extend the life of sufferers beyond what was possible in earlier years. However, people with DMD cannot expect to live beyond their 40s.
1. Muscle weakness causes a decline in mobility in early years
DMD usually first appears in boys at the age when they should be starting to walk, but sometimes the symptoms might not be obvious until they turn five or six. A delay in the time the child starts to walk is one of the most common symptoms. Since children start walking at different ages, the fact that the baby boy is a little late in starting to walk might be of no significance. While some children start walking before their first birthday, other children start later. DMD sufferers usually began to walk at 18 months.