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What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) is the most common muscular dystrophy in children. It is a progressive disorder that causes muscles to become weaker over time until it affects the whole body. Duchenne is not contagious. About one out of every 3,500-5000 boys has Duchenne, and about 20,000 babies worldwide are born with it each year. Duchenne mostly affects boys and reaches across all races and cultures. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) estimates that there are about 15,000 young men, as well as a few young women, with Duchenne alive today in the United States. Although genetic disorders are usually passed down from a parent to a child, Duchenne muscular dystrophy can occur even if no one in your family has had it before.
To date, there is no cure or treatment to stop Duchenne. Many parents are told that there is no hope and little help, but this isn’t true. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy exists to offer the support and resources parents may not find anywhere else. And there is hope, with more than 27 companies currently working on treatments for Duchenne! Knowledge is power and informed and timely care can help people living with Duchenne live longer and more active lives than ever before.
To learn more you can view our Understand Duchenne section.
Why does my child have Duchenne?
Duchenne is a “gender-linked,” or “X-linked” disorder. You may have someone in your family who has or had Duchenne. As a genetic disorder, Duchenne is passed down from a parent to a child, so it could already be in your family’s genes. But Duchenne muscular dystrophy can also occur due to a new, or spontaneous, genetic change (“mutation”), even if no one in your family has had it before. In fact, about 30% of all cases of Duchenne are caused by a spontaneous mutation of the Duchenne gene, with no family history.
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