DMD causes muscle wasting and weakness due to a mutation in the dystrophin gene, resulting in a lack of a protein called dystrophin.1

If the body does not have enough dystrophin, muscle tissues become damaged.3

Find out what causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Over time, this causes problems with movements such as getting up from the floor and walking.1,3

Learn more about the symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Which parts of the body does DMD affect?

DMD affects all muscles of the body, including muscles in the arms and legs, as well as the heart muscle and those involved in breathing. This can lead to problems with:1,3

Moving can be a challenge in DMD


Breathing and coughing can be a challenge in DMD

Breathing and coughing

Heart function can be a challenge in DMD

Heart function

Eating can be a challenge in DMD


How does Duchenne muscular dystrophy progress over time?

DMD causes muscle weakness that gets worse over time. This means that walking, standing, and everyday tasks become increasingly difficult.3,4

Eventually, the muscles that control the heart and lungs stop working, although this typically takes many years.3,4

The progression and severity of DMD symptoms may differ for each individual, but most will experience some of the stages shown in the picture below.3–7

While there is no cure for DMD at present, people with DMD are living for longer than ever before, and with the right care may live into their 30s and beyond.3,6,8

Find out more about living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Picture showing DMD throughout a person’s life

Did you know that DMD primarily affects boys?1
Learn more about Duchenne muscular dystrophy causes and inheritance

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1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Muscular dystrophy: hope through research. Available at [last accessed September 2022].
2. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Muscular dystrophy. Available at
[last accessed September 2022].
3. Goemans N, et al. Eur Neurol Rev. 2014;9:78–82.
4. Birnkrant DJ, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2018;17:251–267 [Part 1].
5. Noritz GH, et al. Pediatrics. 2013;131:e2016–e2027.
6. van Ruiten HJA, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2014;99:1074–1077.
7. Bushby K, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2010;9:77–93.
8. Muscular Dystrophy Association. What is DMD? Available at [last accessed September 2022].

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GL-DMD-0656 | October 2022