Disease at a Glance

Summary
Myotonic dystrophy is a disease that affects the muscles and other body systems. It is the most common form of muscular dystrophy that begins in adulthood, usually in a person's 20s or 30s. This disease is characterized by progressive muscle loss and weakness. Myotonic dystrophy may be further classified into two types, and the two types may affect different muscles. People with Myotonic dystrophy usually have prolonged muscle tensing (myotonia) and are not able to relax certain muscles after use. The severity of the disease may vary among affected people, even among members of the same family. Myotonic dystrophy is caused by genetic changes (changes) in the DMPK gene or the CNBP (ZNF9) gene depending on the specific type of Myotonic dystrophy. The disease is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Myotonic dystrophy may be diagnosed when a healthcare provider observes signs and symptoms of the disease, and the diagnosis may be confirmed with tests of muscle function and genetic testing.
Estimated Number of People with this Disease
In the U.S. there may be between

3,000 to 30,000

What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for this disease:

*Data may be currently unavailable to GARD at this time.
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
This section is currently in development. 

Symptoms

This section is currently in development. We recommend speaking with a doctor to learn more about this disease. 

Causes

This section is currently in development. 

Next Steps

Talking with the Medical Team

Good communication between the patient, family, and medical team can lead to an accurate diagnosis. In addition, health care decisions can be made together which improves the patient’s well-being and quality of life.

Describing Symptoms

Describe details about the symptoms. Because there may be many different causes for a single symptom, it is best not to make a conclusion about the diagnosis. The detailed descriptions help the medical provider determine the correct diagnosis.

To help describe a symptom:

  • Use a smartphone or a notebook to record each symptom before the appointment
  • Describe each symptom by answering the following questions:
    • When did the symptom start?
    • How often does it happen?
    • Does anything make it better or worse?
  • Tell the medical team whether any symptoms affect daily activities

Preparing for the First Visit

Working with a medical team to find a diagnosis can be a long process that will require more than one appointment. Make better health decisions by being prepared for the first visit with each member of the medical team.

    Make informed decisions about health care: 
    • Prepare a list of questions and concerns before the appointment
    • List the most important questions first, not all questions may be answered in the first visit
    • Ask questions about symptoms, possible diagnoses, tests, and treatment options
    For future appointments:
    • Discuss what was not addressed at the last visit
    • Discuss changes in the quality of life for the patient, family, and caregivers
    • Discuss health goals and other issues in the patient’s and family’s life that may affect the health care decisions
    Take notes during the appointments to help remember what was discussed.

    Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021