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Motor Neurone Disease

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is an illness affecting some of the nerves – also known as motor neurones – in the spinal cord and the brain.

When someone has MND, the messages that are carried along the motor neurones struggle to reach the muscles. Over time this causes muscle wasting and weakness in the limbs. It can also affect the ability to speak, breathe and swallow.

Motor Neurone Disease symptoms

Different people are affected by MND in different ways. Not all people will get all of the symptoms associated with the illness and different symptoms can affect people at different times.

Symptoms could include:

Weakness in the arms or legs
Clumsiness in the hands or feet
Difficulty speaking (slurring)
Difficulty swallowing
Difficulty breathing (causing breathlessness)
Muscle wasting
A change in behaviour

Types of Motor Neurone Disease

The term Motor Neurone Disease actually covers a series of related diseases, rather than one single illness. The four main diseases that are commonly described as Motor Neurone Disease are:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – the most common form of the illness, defined by weakness in the limbs and muscle wasting.

Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) – less common, involving slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.

Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) – a fairly rare form, which can involve weakness and clumsiness in the limbs.

Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) – a rare form of the illness, which could involve weakness in the limbs, clumsiness or problems with speech. Life expectancy could be normal if managed effectively.

Help with Motor Neurone Disease At St Nicholas Hospice Care, we can help you to cope with a diagnosis of MND and we can also help you to manage your symptoms. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, you may be interested in:

Physiotherapy – to help with mobility and maximise independent living

Occupational therapy – to help with household adjustments to make things easier or with advice and exercises to make daily living more comfortable

Doctor and nurse-led clinics for outpatients Counselling and emotional support – to help with emotional or spiritual guidance

We also have a range of groups and activities where you can meet people in a similar situation or talk to someone in a friendly and informal environment.

If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team. For further information about MND, please refer to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.