The long-term outlook (prognosis) for each person with myotonic dystrophy (including life expectancy) may depend on the type of myotonic dystrophy and the specific medical problems present. Myotonic dystrophy is a progressive disease, meaning that symptoms worsen as a person gets older.
Although evidence is limited, life expectancy appears to be reduced for people with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). The most common causes of death in people with DM1 are respiratory and cardiac (heart) symptoms. An increased risk of death may be associated with younger age of onset, more severe muscle weakness, and cardiac conduction defects. People with more mild symptoms of DM1 may have a normal lifespan.
Definitive information about prognosis in people with myotonic dystrophy type 2 is limited, but the condition generally runs a milder course. People with myotonic dystrophy type 2 may have a normal lifespan. While mobility may be impaired at an early age, the ability to walk is often retained until around 60-years-old.
Last updated: 8/22/2017
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