Symptoms of Kennedy's disease include enlarged breasts, muscle weakness, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and muscle cramps in the face, arms and legs, according to WebMD. The disease is rare, affecting only one man out of every 150,000. Women typically do not develop symptoms of Kennedy's disease.
Most men who develop the condition, which is also known as spinal bulbar muscular atrophy, begin seeing symptoms between the ages of 20 and 50, WebMD explains. As of 2015, there is no cure for Kennedy's disease. Physicians frequently treat the symptoms and help patients maintain quality of life.
A deformity in the X chromosome is the culprit for the condition, according to the Kennedy's Disease Association. Women pass the chromosomal abnormality to their male children.
Kennedy's disease does not typically reduce life expectancy, according to WebMD. However, sufferers often end up having to retire early, creating financial insecurity, notes the Kennedy's Disease Association. Many Kennedy's disease patients require wheelchairs for mobility. Additionally, some patients need a brace to help support neck muscles and hold the head up.
Kennedy's disease is often misdiagnosed as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to the Kennedy's Disease Association. A blood test conducted by a genetic lab can accurately diagnose the condition.