Motor Neuron Disease

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Article published on 22nd May 2008

Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a disease that is both progressive and neuro-degenerative. This means that it attacks the upper and lower motor neurones within the Central Nervous System. This degeneration ultimately leads to weakness and muscle wastage, which in turn causes speech difficulty, an increasing loss of limb mobility and even trouble swallowing and breathing.

MND affects one or two people in every one hundred thousand in the UK and in any given year there are on average about five thousand people suffering from the condition.

On average the disease affects men more than women and mostly within the 50-80 age brackets.

Although the precise cause of Motor Neuron Disease is still a mystery it is known to run in families so there is an assumption is that it might be inherited. The condition may also be due by nerve damage caused by free radicals in the body because of an excess of glutamate (a major nervous system chemical messenger) in the body.

However it is caused, once you have the condition it is not possible to prevent its development and the debilitating symptoms that come with it, although treatment can sometimes slow the disease's progression. Sadly, the disease kills most of those affected with it within 5 years of contraction, although care and therapy are available to help with some of the symptoms.

The family and carers for a MND sufferer will also need support, as caring for a family member suffering from MND can be deeply distressing and debilitating in its own right. Having financial help can allow carers to get additional support if they need it with housework, childcare or any other equally important considerations that may exist alongside caring for the MND sufferer.

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