What's in a name? The clinical features of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

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Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is an inherited and progressive muscle disorder. Although its name suggests otherwise, it comprises weakness of the facial, shoulder and upper arm muscles, and also of the trunk and leg muscles. Its severity and disease course vary greatly and mild or early FSHD can be difficult to recognise. Knowledge of its subtle signs and symptoms can lead directly to the correct diagnosis without diagnostic delay and without needing multiple diagnostic procedures. We give an overview of the signs and symptoms of FSHD in severe as well as in mild cases, to facilitate correct and instant recognition of this relatively common muscle disorder.

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