Symptoms of MND
Early symptoms are mild and may include stumbling due to weakness of the leg muscles, difficulty holding objects due to weakness of the hand muscles, and slurring of speech or swallowing difficulties due to weakness of the tongue and throat muscles.
Cramps and muscle twitching are also common symptoms.
Emotional responses may be more easily triggered and the person with MND may be aware of laughing and crying more readily than previously.
For some people, the symptoms are widespread from the onset. However, MND usually begins by affecting a single limb or aspect of motor function, becoming more generalised as the disease progresses.
There is no specific test for MND. Diagnosis requires eliminating other possible conditions.
Diagnosing MND is difficult because:
- the early symptoms can be hardly noticeable, e.g. clumsiness, stumbling, or slightly slurred speech, and it may be some time before medical advice is sought
- the disease affects each individual in a different way, so there is no definitive set of symptoms
- several other neurological conditions resemble MND, in the early stages especially, and need to be excluded.