About Duchenne

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)?

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal and horrific genetic condition to affect children; it is caused by the body not being able to produce a protein called dystrophin. It is a very serious condition that causes progressive muscle weakness, which includes the lungs and the heart.

  • Currently no cure
  • It is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy
  • It mainly affects boys, in very rare cases girls
  • The condition knows no cultural, economic or social boundaries
  • 1 in 3,500 boys in the UK are born with DMD
  • Boys become wheelchair bound between the ages of 10 and 12
  • Respiratory and cardiac complications result in death in the early twenties

The four stages associated with Duchenne

Early phase (up to age 7)

The onset of symptoms is difficult to recognise at this stage, but children affected are typically slower than peers, experience difficulty in jumping, hopping, running and climbing stairs, will tire easily and ask to be carried frequently, particularly long distances.


Transitional phase (ages 6 to 9)

During this phase children will increasingly struggle with walking, fatigue is common.


Loss of walking (ages 10 to 14)

By the age of 12 most children are in a powered wheelchair on a regular basis. Weakness in arms will develop but will retain use of fingers.


Adult stage (age 15+)

Symptoms of heart and lung complications start to occur; most boys will die in their early twenties from these complications.