What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Motor Neurone Disease are usually slow to develop and may not be obvious at first. This may mean that a diagnosis is made relatively late, however, there are some early signs which may be symptoms of MND.
These can include:
- Weakness in your ankle or leg – you might trip, or find it harder to climb stairs
- Slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods
- Weak grip/ loss of dexterity in fingers – you might drop things, or find it hard to open jars or do up buttons
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Weight loss– your arms or leg muscles may have become thinner over time
- Difficulty stopping yourself from crying or laughing in inappropriate situations
Cause and treatment
MND is caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nerves called motor neurones. The condition develops when these cells gradually stop working over time, though it is not understood why this happens.
Having a close relative with motor neurone disease, or a related condition called frontotemporal dementia, can sometimes mean you're more likely to get it; however, in most cases, MND does not run in the family.
There is currently no known cure for MND, however, treatments can help to prolong life and reduce the impact on everyday life. Following a diagnosis of MND, you will receive care from GPs and specialist physicians who will determine the right treatment options for you. These can include:
- Admission to highly specialised clinics: usually involving a specialist nurse and occupational therapy to help make everyday tasks easier
- Physiotherapy and exercises to maintain strength and reduce stiffness
- Advice from a speech and language therapist
- Advice from a dietitian about diet and eating
- Riluzole - a medicine that can slightly slowdown the progression of the condition
- Medicines to relieve muscle stiffness and help with saliva problems
- Emotional support for you and your carer
- End of life care