Motor Neurone Disease symptoms: 7 final stages signs

Motor Neurone Disease symptoms: 7 final stages signs

Motor Neurone Disease: Expert on early signs and symptoms

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Motor neurone disease (MND) currently has no cure and the health of those diagnosed with the disease will usually deteriorate at an alarming rate. The condition affects the brain and spinal cord as the disease attacks the nerves that control movement.

This means those diagnosed with the condition will become increasingly immobile as the disease progresses.

According to the charity Marie Curie, within a year of diagnosis a third of patients die. This increases to more than half within two years.

In the first stages of MND muscle weakness is common. This will usually deteriorate to the point where carrying out everyday tasks will become impossible.

Although MND affects each person differently, the NHS has outlined the following seven symptoms patients can expect in the final stages of the disease.

Muscle weakness

MND causes muscle wasting which means limbs will become weaker over time. Muscles may also become stiff which can cause joint pain.

Most people with MND will eventually need to use a wheelchair and will require support to undertake everyday tasks.

Swallowing and speaking difficulties

Swallowing and talking can become increasingly difficult as the disease progresses.

This can lead to choking episodes and so some may choose to have a gastronomy.

Sometimes a person may lose their ability to speak completely but for most speech will become slurred or quiet.

Excess saliva

Reduced swallowing can cause increased saliva which sometimes leads to pooling and drooling of saliva.

Excessive yawning

Even when MND patients are not tired, during the final stages of the condition, the disease can cause excessive yawning.

These episodes are often uncontrollable and can cause jaw pain.

Emotional changes

During the advanced stages of MND, a person’s ability to control their emotions can change.

A common sign is when a person has sudden episodes of uncontrollable crying.

Chances to mental abilities

In some cases, those with MND can experience difficulties with concentration, use of language and planning.

These rarely affect a person’s capacity to make their own choices, but these cognitive changes overlap with a condition called frontotemporal dementia.

Breathing problems

As MND starts to affect the muscles around the diaphragm breathing will become difficult.

Some may need to have assisted ventilation to help aid their breathing.

The disease doesn’t usually affect the senses so even towards the end of a person’s life they should still be able to hear and see.

Marie Curie, a charity that provides care and support to those with terminal illnesses say: “Towards the end of life, understanding these problems and helping the person access appropriate care and support can improve their quality of life.”

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