11 Common Symptoms and Effects of Motor Neurone Disease

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According to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, here are some common symptoms and effects of MND:

  1. Discomfort and pain: although they do not come from MND directly.
  2. Muscle cramps and spasms: which may be eased by changing positions. If you feel these changes are not enough, talk to your doctor.
  3. Stiff joints: some slow and careful exercise may help. Talk to a physiotherapist and ask them to give you an exercise programme adapted to your own needs.
  4. Incontinence: if mobility is considerably restricted incontinence may happen although this is not usual with MND.
  5. Bowel problems: although not usually associated with MND, it is possible for constipation to occur in cases of diet changes and/or restricted mobility. Also, in some cases, the patient may experience diarrhea due to a severely constipated bowel.
  6. Speech and communication issues: these can occur in some MND patients. If this is the case, find a speech and language therapist (SaLT) to help with communication.
  7. Eating and drinking difficulties: if swallowing is affected, the patient may experience difficulties in eating and drinking. A speech and language therapist (SaLT) and a dietician may help with these conditions.
  8. Saliva and mucus issues: are other symptoms associated with difficulty in swallowing. Saliva may pool in the mouth or it may become sticky and thick with mucus.
  9. Coughing and a feeling of choking: this can happen if saliva or food gets lodged in the airway. A speech and language therapist (SaLT) may be able to help.
  10. Breathing difficulties: these may occur due to the respiratory muscle weakness. In these cases,  a breathing assessment may be necessary.
  11. Cognitive changes: Some MND patients may feel some difficulties with concentration, memory, language or learning. Sometimes, these may be quite subtle while in other cases it may be more pronounced and noticeable.

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