There is no known cure for Becker’s muscular dystrophy. Treatment tries to control symptoms to maximize quality of life. Some doctors prescribe steroids to help keep a patient walking for as long as possible.
Activity is encouraged. Inactivity (such as bed rest) can worsen the muscle disease. Physical therapy may be helpful to maintain muscle strength. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs may improve mobility and self-care.
Genetic counseling may be advisable. Sons of a man with Becker’s muscular dystrophy do not develop the disorder, but daughters may be carriers. The daughters’ sons may develop the disorder.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See muscular dystrophy – support group.
Becker’s muscular dystrophy leads to slowly worsening disability. Death may occur in the 50s or 60s, but patients can live longer than that.
- Permanent, worsening disability
- Decreased ability to care for self
- Decreased mobility
- Mental impairment (varies) — see mental retardation
- Pneumonia or other respiratory infections
- Respiratory failure
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if:
- Symptoms of Becker’s muscular dystrophy appear
- A person with Becker’s muscular dystrophy develops new symptoms (particularly fever with cough or breathing difficulties)
- You are planning to start a family and you or other family members have been diagnosed with Becker’s muscular dystrophy.
Review Date : 12/17/2008
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.