The health care provider will do a nervous system (neurological) and muscle examination. A careful medical history is also important, because symptoms are similar to those of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, Becker muscular dystrophy gets worse much more slowly.
An exam may find:
Abnormally developed bones, leading to deformities of the chest and back (scoliosis)
There is no known cure for Becker muscular dystrophy. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms to maximize the person's 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 make the muscle disease worse. Physical therapy may be helpful to maintain muscle strength. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs may improve movement and self-care.
Genetic counseling may be recommended. Daughters of a man with Becker muscular dystrophy may carry the defective gene and could pass it on to their sons.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.
Becker muscular dystrophy leads to slowly worsening disability, although the amount of disability varies. Some men may need a wheelchair, while others may only need to use walking aids such as canes or braces.
Lifespan is usually shortened if there is heart and breathing disease.
You are planning to start a family and you or other family members have been diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy
Genetic counseling may be advised if there is a family history of Becker muscular dystrophy.
Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Muscular dystrophies. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 608.
Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editrial team.