What to Know About Muscular Dystrophy

The group of diseases that cause a gradual loss of muscle mass and weakness is known is Muscular Dystrophy (MD). It’s a progressive condition that eventually leads to disability. There are several types of MD and each one has its own symptoms ranging from mild to severe. As yet, there is no cure for MD, but therapies and assistive devices make living with MD easier.


Each type of MD affects different muscle groups and every person with MD experiences the disease differently. MD is usually inherited, but it can sometimes occur with no family history. The different types of MD include:

·      Duchenne muscular dystrophy

·      Myotonic dystrophy

·      Becker’s muscular dystrophy

·      Fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

·      The limb-girdle muscular dystrophies

·      Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy

·      Oculopharyngeal dystrophy

·      Distal muscular dystrophy

·      Mitochondrial myopathies


Typically, MD is caused by mutation or damage to the genes which control healthy muscle structure, protection, and function. The mutation and damage mean that the cells that normally protect and maintain muscles no longer do their job, which eventually leads to weakness and disability.


Depending on the type of MD, the symptoms and age of onset will vary. The most common symptom for MD is muscle weakness, but even this will vary greatly depending on the type of MD. A doctor can do tests and diagnose MD.

Living with Muscular Dystrophy

Only a doctor can diagnose muscular dystrophy. Blood tests, physical exams, evaluating family history, and a muscle biopsy may all be used to determine if you have MD and if so, which type. Although there is no cure for MD, therapies and medication help control symptoms. Physiotherapy helps keep joints and body moving while certain types of steroids can help strengthen weakening muscles. Exercise also helps maintain muscle mass and creatine has been found to improve strength with few or no side-effects. In severe situations, surgery may be indicated.


Living with MD can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Support from loved ones as well as medical device aids helps make living with MD less difficult.

Practical Aids

MD can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life. With so many types and symptoms affecting people in different ways, it would be quite difficult to list every possible medical aid. Instead, we’ve highlighted the most common and encourage you to explore our site for additional resources.


Weak muscles and mobility issues can increase the chances of slipping or falling while in the shower or bath. Products like bath lifts, children’s bath lifts, and shower chairs increase safety in the shower and help retain independence.


Simple tasks such as buttoning a shirt or zipping pants can be quite difficult with MD. People with MD can preserve their independence and self-esteem through use of products like button holers, zipper pulls, self-binding shoe laces, and leg lifters.

Pediatric Aids

Children with MD may feel limited in their activities and isolated from their peers. Play and development aids, including activity tables can help them interact and make friends.

Mobility Devices

The weakness and lack of balance that occur with MD can lead to immobility. To keep moving and retain independence, consider products such as crutches, rollators, support rails, and wheelchairs.



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Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).