Men often have more symptoms than women.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy mainly affects the face, shoulder, and upper arm muscles. However, it can also affect muscles around the pelvis, hips, and lower leg.
Symptoms can appear after birth, but often they do not appear until age 10 - 26. However, it is not uncommon for symptoms to appear much later in life. In some cases, symptoms never develop.
Symptoms are usually mild and very slowly become worse. Muscle weakness of the face is common, and may include:
- Inability to whistle
- Decreased facial expression
- Depressed or angry facial expression
- Difficulty pronouncing words
Shoulder muscle weakness causes deformities such as pronounced shoulder blades (scapular winging) and sloping shoulders. The person has difficulty raising the arms because of shoulder and arm muscle weakness.
Weakness of the lower legs is possible as the disorder gets worse. The weakness can be severe enough to interfere with walking. A small percentage of people become wheelchair-bound.
Hearing loss and abnormal heart rhythms may occur, but are rare.