What is Myotonic Dystrophy?

Myotonic dystrophy is a disorder that causes muscle wasting, trouble relaxing after movement, and weakness. Early signs are muscle weakness in the face, hands, forearms, and feet. The heart, eyes, and other organs may also be affected later on in life. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), also called Steinert disease, has a severe form starting from birth and a milder childhood-onset form. Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is more rare than DM1 and generally manifests with milder signs and symptoms.

Who gets Myotonic Dystrophy?

Myotonic dystrophy is a genetic disorder. One parent needs to have the defective gene for their child to have the disorder. Myotonic dystrophy can occur in patients of any age.

How is Myotonic Dystrophy diagnosed?

After taking the patient's history, a physician may perform an EMG, a muscle biopsy, and a series of blood tests that may include DNA testing.

How is Myotonic Dystrophy treated?

There is no cure for myotonic dystrophy, but some of the symptoms may be treated through medication. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and braces can be used to help with weakened muscles.

More Information

Muscular Dystrophy Association
International Myotonic Dystrophy Association
Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group

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