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What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is a neuromuscular, genetic disorder which results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function. Muscular Dystrophy is the name of one of many different neuromuscular conditions.

Neuromuscular conditions can affect people at different stages of their lives and onset of symptoms can occur from birth to adulthood, depending on the condition. The rate of progression and pattern of inheritance also varies depending on the condition and the individual.

Neuromuscular conditions are relatively rare, affecting approximately 1 in 1000 people. By that calculation, there are approximately 24,600 Australians living with a neuromuscular condition.

This fact sheet explains how neuromuscular conditions affect people.


But I don’t have Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy NSW supports people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy, Friedreich Ataxia, Becker Muscular Dystrophy, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and many other neuromuscular conditions.

For a full list of neuromuscular conditions supported by MDNSW, read page 2 of this fact sheet.


What’s in a name?

As scientific understanding of neuromuscular conditions deepens and advances, the terminology changes with it. Neuromuscular Condition is now the preferred term for Muscular Dystrophy in its many forms.

We’re still known as Muscular Dystrophy NSW, because the broader community has an understanding of this term, but many people aren’t familiar with the term, ‘neuromuscular condition’.


Types of Neuromuscular conditions

To learn more about the most common neuromuscular conditions, read our Fact Sheets, linked below. These fact sheets can be useful tools to help your NDIS planner understand your current and future support needs.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Congenital Myopathies

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD)

Friedreich Ataxia

Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies

Inclusion Body Myositis

Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophies

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, Type 3, Type 4