Motor Neuron Disease – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Motor Neurone Disease

What Is Motor Neuron Disease?

The medical term motor neuron disease arises when motor neurons- specialist nerve cells present in our spinal cord and brain, stop functioning properly. These essential nerve cells, motor neurone are responsible for controlling our muscle activities for example:

What Causes Motor Neuron Disease?

Researchers have failed to identify the clear cause that disturbs the smooth functioning of motor neurones, however; they believe certain factors including lifestyle, diet and race to play a vital role in its contribution.
From the total cases of motor neurone disease reported so far, 5 percent of patients have the family history of the disease. Furthermore, in many of its instances, faulty genes are also identified for playing a vital role in its occurrence.

What Are The Symptoms Of Motor Neuron Disease?

Initially, its symptoms become gradually noticeable, over weeks and even months. They typically start to occur on a particular body side, turning increasingly worse. Few early symptoms of motor neurone disease include:

  •  Slurred speech.
  •  Dragging of leg.
  •  ‘Foot drop’ due to weakness of ankle muscles.
  •  Difficulty to lift your arm due to weakness of shoulder muscles.
  •  Weakened drip that tends to cause problem holding or picking things.
    Usually, motor neuron disease is not painful, however as the progression of damage occurs, the condition gets debilitating. Symptoms become noticeable on other body parts as well. Ultimately, the patient becomes unable to stand and move. He or she feels difficulty to breathe, swallow and speak.
    Furthermore, in 15 to 20% of its cases, the condition is linked with a form of dementia which affects behavior and personality, known as frontotemporal dementia.

How Is Motor Neuron Disease Diagnosed?

The doctor needs to conduct no particular tests or procedures in order to diagnose motor neurone disease. A professional neurologist can diagnose the condition simply by carrying out a thorough physical examination of the patient. Though, he or she may suggest specialized tests in order to rule out some other conditions.

What are the potential complications of motor neuron disease?

Few complications this progressive condition can lead are:

  •  Pseudo bulbar effect.
  •  Dysarthria and dysphagia.
  •  Decline in cognitive ability.
  •  Severe breathing difficulty.
  •  Paralysis.
  •  Death.

How Is Motor Neuron Disease Treated?

Unfortunately, motor neuron disease is incurable; however the treatment focuses to:

  •  Compensate for the mobility loss for example breathing and swallowing.
  •  Make its patient feel comfortable and relaxed.
  •  As much as possible, improve the affected quality of life.
    1. For instance, breathing mask tends to help manage breathing difficulties.
    2. If needed, drugs are prescribed to stop oral secretions.
    3. Insertion of gastrostomy helps sustain nutrition.
    Riluzole, a specific drug has proved slight improvement in the overall survival of its patients, however it does not prevent the progression of motor neron disease, and thus not its cure.

By : Natural Health News


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