Motor neurone disease early symptoms – NHS pinpoints the 6 warning signs

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Motor neurone disease is a rare condition that affects the brain and nerves, causing a weakness that gets worse over time. There is no cure and MND is fatal in most cases, although people can live with the condition for many years.

The condition mainly affects adults in the 60s and 70s, but people of all ages can be affected.

Motor neurone disease is caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nervous system, called neurones.

These gradually stop working over time, causing weakness in the body.

As soon as you spot any of the early signs of motor neurone disease, you’re advised to book an appointment with your GP.

Unfortunately, MND will see a person’s condition deteriorate over time and these early symptoms can become progressively worse.

For example, slurred speech can then progress to difficulty with swallowing or breathing which may mean treatments like a feeding tube or breathing through face masks may be required.

Other treatments include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Dietry help, such as advice from a dietician
  • Medication – Riluzole can slightly slow down the progression of MND

You could also hire carers or specialist nurse to help with your every day tasks.

The condition is extremely rare so while it’s unlikely to be MND, but it’s important to book in to see your doctor if you recognise any of these symptoms.

Getting an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible is key for you to receive any treatment that may help.

MND Association says: “MND is not a common disease and your GP can usually work out if there is a general health problem or injury. There may be an obvious cause that is easy to test and treat. If the problem eases and gets better, it is highly unlikely that you will receive a diagnosis of MND.

“Where the brain or nervous system is involved, this is known as a neurological problem. If your GP thinks this is possible, you will be referred to a neurologist for examination.

“This does not mean you will be diagnosed with MND. There are many neurological conditions and some share similar symptoms.”

There’s no one key test for MND, so your doctor may arrange:

  • blood tests
  • a scan of your brain and spine
  • tests to measure the electrical activity in your muscles and nerves
  • a lumbar puncture

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