What are the 3 stages of MND?

In the US, Global Motor Neuron Diseases Awareness Day is celebrated every year on June 21st to create awareness of MND (Motor Neuron Diseases) and ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  

Motor neuron disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease where your motor neurons start losing their control over the muscles making it difficult to perform functions like walking, chewing, breathing, writing, arm, and leg movements, etc. This disease usually happens as you age and decreases your life expectancy and eventually leads to death. There is no cure, but with the help of medications and therapies, you can slow down the process.  

Motor neuron disease progresses in three stages – Early, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Early stage  

Symptoms of MND develop slowly and are mostly ignored. Symptoms depend on the type of MND you have, and which part is affected: 

  • Arms  
  • Legs 
  • Respiratory system  
  • Mouth 

Symptoms you should be careful of: 

  • Weakness in arms and legs which might lead to 
    • A weak grip on your fingers and hands (making it hard to pick up and hold things) 
    • Shoulder weakness that makes lifting the arm hard 
    • a ‘foot drop’ or ‘Dragging’ of the leg caused by weak ankle muscles 
    • Clumsiness 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Fatigue 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Inappropriate emotional responses, such as laughing or crying 
  • Weight loss 

Intermediate stage 

In this stage, the symptoms start becoming severe. These are the symptoms you need to be on the lookout for: 

  • Difficulty in moving and walking 
  • Joint pain 
  • Drooling, due to problems with swallowing 
  • Uncontrollable yawning 
  • Changes in personality and emotional states 
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Muscle wasting 
  • Dementia (People who suffer from ALS develop frontotemporal dementia)   
  • Some people may also experience insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
     

Advanced stage 

In this stage, a person becomes fully dependent on others for moving, eating, breathing, or a combination of these. At this stage, this disease can be life-threatening, because without eating and breathing a person cannot survive long. And most people die due to breathing problems.
 

Treatment  

Although there is no cure for MND, treatment helps you manage its symptoms and increase your life expectancy. Treatment can be given through medications, supportive therapy, or physical therapies.  

  • Medications such as Edaravone, Nusinersen, and Onasemnogene abeparvovec can help to slow down the process of MND. You may be prescribed Botox injections for muscle cramps and stiffness. Pain relief medication can help to relieve your joint and muscle pain.  
  • Physical therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physiotherapy help to maintain strength and reduce stiffness, and help to maintain proper speech to communicate.  
  • Supporting devices are helpful when a person is not able to do anything on their own. Assisted ventilation helps the person with his breathing and a feeding tube is inserted to help with eating. There are other supporting devices too which help with moving, eating, speaking, breathing, and swallowing.  

MND is a dangerous disease with no cure at all. Noticing the symptoms early and taking proper treatment helps you to increase your life span.  

Want to know the best treatment that works on MND?

At Doral Health and Wellness, we have doctors that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at info@doralhw.org if you have any queries.