Motor Neurone Disease – what is it, how it happens, how it affects people & Platinum’s role

als1Platinum’s carers are often called upon to provide support for people who are living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). This support can range from simply preparing meals, to assisting with personal care in the mornings and evenings. Showering and dressing for the day, or the bedtime routine are important duties carried out by Platinum’s carers for people experiencing the often debilitating symptoms of MND.

What is Motor Neurone Disease?

MND is the name given to the group of diseases that lead to the degeneration and death of neurones or nerve cells. The nerve cells that die are the ones that activate movement, speech, breathing, and swallowing. It therefore becomes increasingly difficult for someone with MND to walk, maintain balance, communicate, breathe and eat.

Risk factors, symptoms, and diagnosis

Unfortunately, no definitive cause has been found for MND, and it appears to strike indiscriminately, with only slightly more men than women developing the disease.

The symptoms of the disease in its early stages can vary greatly for person to person, so that it also becomes very difficult to diagnose with certainty. Here are a few, but a more comprehensive list of possible symptoms can be found at the HealthyWA website:

  • Stumbling – weakness in legs
  • Dropping things – weakness in hands and arms
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased salivation due to reduced swallow function

Neurologists rely on blood tests, nerve conduction studies, and MRI scans to provide a confident diagnosis of the disease.

A diagnosis of MND can be very distressing – so much is uncertain due to the way it affects each individual person, and it is difficult for medical professionals to answer big questions in a reassuring way. It’s vital for many people living with the disease, to continue to enjoy life to the best of their ability. Simply having a little extra support to get things done can help to eliminate that sense of frustration and despair that often comes with reduced physical function.