What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms are mild and include stumbling due to weakness of the leg muscles, difficulty holding objects due to weakness of the hand muscles, slurring of speech or swallowing difficulties due to weakness of the tongue and throat muscles. In some instances people experience changes in their cognition and behaviour.
Emotional responses may be more easily triggered and the person with MND may be aware of laughing and crying more readily than previously.
Cramps and muscle twitching are also common symptoms.
The effects of MND - initial symptoms, rate and pattern of progression, and survival time after diagnosis - vary significantly from person to person. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to three years.
What remains unaffected by MND?
For most people with MND the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are not affected.
Bladder and bowel
The bowels and bladder are not affected by the disease, although diet and exercise should be carefully monitored. In the PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) form of MND some people experience urinary urgency.
Constipation can occur, especially when people become less mobile or have to change their diet due to swallowing difficulties.