Motor neurone disease covers a group of diseases which affect the nerves in the central nervous system.
Resultantly, messages from these nerves are unable to reach muscles in the body, causing them to stiffen and waste away. People with MND may not develop symptoms instantly and therefore stages of diagnosis can vary.
MND affects everyone in different ways. Symptoms vary from person to person and the rate of which symptoms develop can vary too. MND symptoms may come on gradually and not be obvious at first.
Early symptoms of MND can include:
- Weakness in the legs and/or ankles leading to unexplained trips or finding it difficult to climb stairs
- A weak grip- it may be difficult to perform tasks such as tying shoe laces or doing up buttons, and you may easily drop things
- Slurred speech which can lead to difficulty swallowing
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Weight loss
- Changes in behaviour, for example you may find it difficult to stop laughing or crying in inappropriate situations
MND has no cure, however there are treatments and support available to improve symptoms.
- Riluzole- the only drug approved to help slow the progression of MND
- Occupational therapy to help keep your independence for as long as possible
- Physiotherapy with the aim to maintain muscle strength and reduce muscle stiffness
- Medicines which can reduce muscle stiffness and make it easier to swallow
- Specialist advice on diet, eating, speech and language
- Breathing and ventilation support
- Tube feeding for if you have trouble eating and drinking