The brain gives the signal, the nerves carry them forward and your entire body functions accordingly. Now, what if some of the nerves fail to deliver the message? Clearly, some parts of your body will not function.
There are some nerves which control the function of your various muscles. If those nerves fail to work, your muscles won’t function properly. Such disorders are called neuromuscular disorders. If they affect the muscles of your heart or chest, it can be fatal. But when they affect other muscles, you are left with a disability. In some cases, the disability can be progressive as well. Based on their origin, affected area, progress and symptoms, there are many types of neuromuscular disorders. In this article, we have briefly introduced the most common ones.
Types Of Neuromuscular Diseases
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
You may have heard of ALS as a part of the #icebucket challenge. In this condition, the nerves which transfer messages to the legs and hands are damaged (or underdeveloped). Hence, your locomotive skills are affected first. The initial symptoms can be as subtle as weakness in arms or feet but as it grows, the symptoms become more and more serious.
ALS is a chronic disorder which can be either inherited or acquired during development. At the most advanced stages, a patient will become entirely paralysed and will not be able to speak or eat. There is no permanent cure for ALS. But the progress of this condition can be slowed down through medication if detected early. However, it is deemed that at the final stage, the paralysis will spread to the chest and heart resulting in death.
In a patient of muscular dystrophy, the muscles (especially skeletal muscles) become weak due to lack of production of healthy protein. Naturally, the muscles lose mass. This condition results from a genetic abnormality, either inherited or mutated. Nonetheless, the condition is present at birth. However, in some people, symptoms may be present from birth while in others, the symptoms may start showing at a later stage in life.
As the diseases advances, the patient will suffer from loss of limbs function, loss of speech ability, curvature or bending of the spine and even difficulty in breathing.
Sadly, there is no conclusive treatment for muscular dystrophy. Medicine and physiotherapy can help you live better and add a few years to life expectancy, but this disorder is ultimately fatal.
Myasthenia Gravis affects your skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles are the ones which attach your muscles and the bones together. Naturally, if those muscles are weak, even if you have healthy bones and the rest of your muscles are healthy, you won’t be able to walk, talk, eat or even see or breathe.
This disorder results from an autoimmune condition where the protective cells of your body mistakenly start attacking the healthy cells ‘thinking’ that they are ‘germs’.
There is no cure for Myasthenia Gravis. But medicine can control the severity of it while physiotherapy and other lifestyle habits can help you manage the symptoms and thus have a better life. With proper treatment, this disorder does not advance aggressively and hence, people with a less serious case of Myasthenia Gravis can still live a long life.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a genetic disease where the nervous system fails to control the voluntary muscles. Hence, it would include walking, talking, eating, urinating, defecating, blinking, swallowing and sometimes even breathing.
It is a chronic condition that where the symptoms worsen over time. Medicines and physiotherapy can slow down the progress of the disease and using assistive devices may help you lead a fuller life. But since it also affects breathing, spinal muscular atrophy is ultimately fatal.
Muscular Sclerosis is again an autoimmune condition where your own body cells kill your nerve cells (to be more precise, damages the sheath of your nerves). This decreases the quality of message transfer from the brain and the spinal cord to your muscle cells.
The symptoms may vary widely from person to person based on the degree of nerve damage. However, if you begin the treatment early, the progress can be slowed down or even stopped with proper medicine. As for the existing disability (if any), it has to be managed with medical assistive devices. A counsellor can guide you on how to carry out daily life activities with more ease.
All these neuromuscular disorders are either congenital or a result of a trauma. If you have symptoms of above said neurological conditions, you can consult our neuro-experts at Vinn Hospital.
About The Hospital:
Vinn Hospital has been providing comprehensive treatments and cares for its patients, with the best in class doctors, specialists and support staff. Our teams and units are dedicated in their cause to ensure optimum health for all our patients. Vinn Hospital has the best, state-of-the-art facilities, which treat an array of diseases and disorders all under one roof.
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