Living with Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of genetic disorders associated with the progressive loss of muscle tissue and muscle strength. There is no cure yet for muscular dystrophy, but there are many treatments and strategies that can relieve patients’ symptoms and increase their quality of life.

Orthotic devices

Many patients need orthotic devices or braces early in the disease course. Later in life, many patients require a wheelchair or motorized chair for mobility.

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help patients maintain their mobility and improve their quality of life. Therapists work with patients to develop an exercise program and may prescribe braces or other mobility aids.

Respiratory care

Some types of muscular dystrophy can affect patients’ breathing, especially at night. Respiratory support, including an apparatus to help with breathing or provide supplementary oxygen, may be needed in such cases.


It can be difficult for patients with muscular dystrophy to travel. For this reason, it is important for patients and their families to plan ahead with airlines and travel agencies to ensure accommodations will be available when needed. If patients wear braces, they may need extra legroom on planes. If they are not able to walk between plane terminals, they may need to arrange for a wheelchair with the airline and allow extra time between flights.

Not all tourist destinations will be accessible, so it is a good idea to make plans with a travel agent who specializes in arranging travel for those with a disability.

It is also important for patients to have access to care while they travel. Before traveling, they should discuss plans with their care team and find out where they can go for treatment if they have an emergency while they are away from home. If patients are taking any medication, they should make sure they have enough for the whole trip and can get more if any mishap occurs.


Some patients with muscular dystrophy may have trouble eating; holding utensils or swallowing may be difficult. Physical and occupational therapists can help minimize these problems. Patients may also benefit from working with a dietitian, who can help patients and their caregivers develop a healthy meal plan.

Anesthesia and surgery

Anesthesia, which prevent patients from feeling pain during a surgical procedure, involve medications that affect nerves and muscles. Some muscular dystrophy patients will respond differently to anesthesia. Patients scheduling a surgery should discuss the risks of anesthesia with their care team.


Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.