Motor Neuron Disease
What is motor neuron disease?Motor neuron disease is a condition where parts of the nervous system are progressively damaged. The motor neurons are the neurons that facilitate body movements and functions i.e. chewing of food, breathing, speaking, etc. When the neurons get damaged, the ability to carry on generic functioning is damaged too.Motor neuron disease can affect different parts of the body differently. Here are some of the motor neuron disease types:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
- Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP)
- Pseudobulbar Palsy
- Progressive Muscular Atrophy
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Kennedy's Disease
Motor neuron disease SymptomsThe motor neuron disease symptoms begin gradually and get progressively worse as the damage of the neurons takes place over a period of time. Motor neuron disease affects different individuals differently depending upon the extent of damage, age, health conditions, etc. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Weakness in the body
- Muscle aches, twitching, and cramps
- difficulty in chewing, swallowing and speech
- difficulty in breathing
- Respiratory changes
Who is at Risk?Motor neuron disease is a rare condition, with as low as only 2 cases found in every 100,000 people in the U.S. Motor neuron disease risk factors depend upon individual health conditions, family health history, age, and other factors. Certain red flags for when an individual might be at risk are:
- People with a family history of motor neuron disease are likely to get it too
- Sudden injury or accident that involves nerve cells damage
- Sudden occurrence of auto-immune disease
- Virus infection that causes neuro damage
- Tumor or cancer in the nervous system
Motor neuron disease causesMotor neuron disease causes can vary from individual to individual depending upon their underlying health conditions, age, or personal injuries. People with a family history of motor neuron disease are more likely to develop this rare condition than others. Some of the causes are listed below for your understanding.
- Accident or sudden injury causing nervous damage
- Exposure to toxins and chemicals
- Gene Mutation
- Exposure to viruses
- Auto-immune response
- Aging of motor neurons
- Nerve growth factors
How is motor neuron disease diagnosed?Motor neuron disease diagnosis is undertaken by neurologists after the patient complains of difficulty in cognitive functions or generic body movements. Often the early symptoms are neglected by patients, resulting in further damage to the neurons. It is best to seek a doctors help at the soonest for the best assistance.
- Physical Examination A thorough examination is conducted by the doctor to understand neuron stimulation, muscle reflexes, sensations, and motor functions.
- motor neuron disease Tests Imaging tests like MRI and CT Scan are undertaken to understand the response to certain sounds and waves and the muscular reaction to it.
- Blood and Antibodies Test Samples of blood is collected to testify the presence of antibodies (body's natural response to a virus) and auto-immune disorders
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- Medicines Inhibitors are prescribed by doctors to improve the communication between the nerve cells and the muscles for disease management
- Physiotherapy Physiotherapy is recommended to aid body movements and maintain the body functioning
- Plasmapheresis A process where the harmful antibodies are removed from the body through plasma exchange. This control auto-immune response. Although this form of treatment is short-term.
How can motor neuron disease be prevented?Motor neuron disease is a life-shortening condition and can reduce life-expectancy to as little as 3 years from the first symptom. Certain motor neuron disease prevention practices can be done to optimize functioning and prevent further damage.
- Leading a healthy and comfortable life
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle
- Practice Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama techniques for mind treatment
- Maintain optimum body weight to optimize the functioning
- Exercise daily to keep the body active and healthy
- Include cognitive-motor exercises and activities to boost neuron functioning
- Give yourself plenty of rest to recover from fatigue, weakness, and tiredness