What is FSHD?
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, is a genetic disorder that leads to the weakening of skeletal muscles. Typically beginning in early teenage years with the loss of muscles in the face (facio), shoulders (scapula), upper arms (humerus), legs or core, FSHD can spread to any muscle. Around 20 percent will need a wheelchair by age 50. Over 70 percent experience debilitating pain and fatigue. There is no effective treatment or cure—but there is hope.
Who is affected?
An estimated 1 in 8,000 individuals, or 870,000 people worldwide. FSHD strikes men, women, and children of all races and ethnicities. Ten percent develop symptoms before age 10. The condition is inherited and can affect many family members across generations. Some 30 percent of cases arise in families with no prior history. No individual or family is immune.