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Man diagnosed with MND shares how the condition affects him 26 years on

Motor Neurone Disease: Expert on early signs and symptoms

Tommy, 80, first sought the advice of his GP when he noticed walking had become a bit difficult and his speech was slurred.

Referred to a specialist, back in 1997, Tommy was diagnosed with a life-altering condition.

Motor neurone disease (MND) progressively damages the nervous system, the NHS says.

The health body explains: “MND happens when specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, called motor neurones, stop working properly and die prematurely.”

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Marie Curie – a charity that provides care and support for terminal illnesses – states “a person with MND will usually die between two to three years after diagnosis”.

Tommy, however, defied this timeline as he is still living 26 years on from his MND diagnosis, but it isn’t without its challenges.

“I can’t swallow solids anymore,” Tommy told Glasgow Live. “I rely on a Peg feed overnight and can only sip drinks.”

Tommy revealed his “left hand is no longer functional” and he experiences pain in his left shoulder.

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“Using an electric wheelchair and scooter has become essential for getting around,” Tommy added.

“Although my MND is stable, infections or colds take longer to clear up.”

Tommy said: “Face difficulties with excess saliva build-up, but Botox injections to my saliva glands provide some relief.”

Nowadays there are multiple therapies to help control symptoms of MND, even though the condition doesn’t have a cure.

Symptoms of MND can include:

  • Weakness in your ankle or leg – you might trip, or find it harder to climb stairs
  • Slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods
  • A weak grip – you might drop things, or find it hard to open jars or do up buttons
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Weight loss – your arms or leg muscles may have become thinner over time
  • Difficulty stopping yourself from crying or laughing in inappropriate situations.

Anybody experiencing any signs of MND should book an appointment with their doctor.

Symptom management can include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, assistance from a speech and language specialist, and medication.

One medication that might be prescribed is called riluzole, which can slightly slow down the progression of the condition.

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  • Posted on June 28, 2023