What is MND ?
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease of the brain and central nervous system. It can leave people locked into a failing body, unable to move, walk & talk. There is no effective treatment, and there is no cure. In the UK in 2008. 1,956 people died of MND -Equivalent to five people every day, and one death in every 296.
The number of people dying from motor neurone disease is increasing year on year, in 2001, MND accounted for 1,595 deaths (one in 378). Whilst MND can and does affect younger people, most people dying of the disease are over 40, given that there is currently no reliable diagnostic test, people can live with lengthy uncertainty – the average time from onsest of symptoms to diagnosis is 17 months. Once diagnosed, half of people with MND die within 14 months.
There are four main types of MND:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
This is the most common form with both upper and lower motor neurone involvement. This form of the disease is characterised by weakness and wasting in the limbs. Someone may notice they are tripping when walking or dropping things. Average life expectancy is from two to five years from onset of symptons.
Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
A rare form of MND involving the upper motor neurones only, causing mainly weakness in the lower limbs, although some people may experience clumsiness in the hands or speech problems. Life span could essentially be normal, although it may be life-limiting, depending on whether it remains as pure PLS or develops into ALS.
Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP)
Affects about a quarter of people diagnosed, and involves both the upper and lower motor neurones. Symptoms may include slurring of speech or difficulty in swallowing. Life expectancy is between six months and three years from onset of symptoms.
Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA) (This is the type I have)
Affects only 5% of people with MND, mainly causing damage to the lower motor neurones. Early symptoms may notice as weakness or clumsiness of the hand. Most people live more than five years.