ZocdocAnswersHow do you get muscular dystrophy?

Question

How do you get muscular dystrophy?

I don't know what's happening, but all of my muscles seem to ache and I feel tired. Could this be MS? How do you get it? Is it hereditary or something?

Answer

Muscular dystrophy is a general term for a set of muscle disorders that result in deterioration over time of muscle strength and bulk, leading to very significant disability and, in some severe forms, death. Importantly, the muscular dystrophies are inherited conditions; therefore, if you do not have a history of them in your family, it would be unusual to develop one. Secondly, pain in the muscles is not a major feature of the muscular dystrophyies. Taking all of this together, I think it is pretty unlikely that you have a muscular dystrophy! However, there are many potential causes for having aching or sore muscles. The possibilities depend in part on your age, gender, other medical problems, and the types of medications that you are taking. For example, a condition called polymyalgia rheumatica affects older adults and can lead to chronic muscle pain and stiffness. Similarly, several medications can be associated with muscle pain, especially the statins, which are used to lower cholesterol. You will need to get in to see your primary care doctor, who will perform an assessment and will likely want to do some blood work to look for any evidence of damage to the muscles or inflammation.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.