Which clinical history findings are characteristic of Kennedy disease (KD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: Paul E Barkhaus, MD, FAAN, FAANEM; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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  • A typical constellation of complaints in Kennedy disease (KD) is an insidious onset of easy fatigability, muscle cramps, and weakness in the limbs.

  • As the disease progresses, disability commensurately increases until the patient is wheelchair bound.

  • Involvement of the bulbar musculature may be expressed as difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and speaking. The last often results in a nasal quality of the person's speech because of palatal weakness.

  • Postural tremor and tremor in the upper extremities usually begins late in the course of the illness.

  • Sensory complaints may be present, but they are rarely isolated findings.

  • Patients may have complaints related to endocrinopathy, particularly diabetes. Because the onset of the disease is relatively late, complaints such as infertility or reduced libido may not be appreciated readily. Battaglia et al reported a case in which endocrinopathy was the presenting manifestation of KD. [49]

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