Symptoms

Dystonia is characterized by involuntary muscle contraction causing repetitive or twisting movements. Dystonia can affect a specific area of the body or be more widespread throughout several muscle groups.  Dystonia is typically categorized based on cause, age of onset, and body distribution.

Dystonia Classification1

Classification by cause

Primary
Dystonia
• Often hereditary due to mutation of gene DYT1
• Patient exhibits no other neurological disorder or brain abnormalities
Secondary
Dystonia
• Associated with lesion of central nervous system often caused by outside factor such as trauma, cerebral palsy, stroke or exposure to certain medications

Classification by age of onset

Early-onset
Dystonia
• Symptoms begin in childhood, usually before the age of 20-30
Late-onset
Dystonia
• Symptoms begin in adulthood, usually after the age of 30

Classification by body distribution

Generalized
Dystonia
• Affects the entire body
Focal
Dystonia
• Affects one area of the body
Segmental
Dystonia
• Affects two or more contiguous body areas
Hemidystonia • Affects one side of the body

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