The stages of muscular dystrophy
The earlier stages of the disease are noticeable, but not as severe as the later stages. At the earlier points of the disease, it is common for the muscles to stiffen, with a noticeable amount of pain as well. This part of the progression of the disease also brings with it frequent falls. Other symptoms experienced in the earlier stages of muscular dystrophy, specifically Duchenne muscular dystrophy, include a waddling gait (which is an abnormality that stems from the incompetence of what are known as the proximal muscles of the pelvic girdle, resulting in the weakness of the gluteus muscles), difficulty with running and walking, walking on toes, difficulty with standing up or sitting down, as well as disabilities learning, such as inhibited speech development. These symptoms are especially common with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but can also be seen with Becker muscular dystrophy. The distinct difference between the two is that Duchenne muscular dystrophy is more commonly seen at younger ages, especially children, whereas Becker muscular dystrophy is more prominent in patients in their mid-twenties or later.
At the more advanced stages of the disorder, the muscles will then weaken at a faster rate, resulting in the inability to stand or walk at all. The subsequent symptoms include: a shortening of the tendons and muscles (resulting in more limited movement), more severe breathing problems, curvature of the spine, the weakening of the heart muscles, as well as more severe difficulties associated with swallowing.