Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders affect the nerves that control your voluntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are the ones you can control, like in your arms and legs. Your nerve cells, also called neurons, send the messages that control these muscles. When the neurons become unhealthy or die, communication between your nervous system and muscles breaks down. As a result, your muscles weaken and waste away. The weakness can lead to twitching, cramps, aches and pains, and joint and movement problems. Sometimes it also affects heart function and your ability to breathe.

Examples of neuromuscular disorders include

Many neuromuscular diseases are genetic, which means they run in families or there is a mutation in your genes. Sometimes, an immune system disorder can cause them. Most of them have no cure. The goal of treatment is to improve symptoms, increase mobility and lengthen life.

Symptoms of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following features are indicative of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • muscle twitches
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle cramps
  • spasticity
  • slurred speech
  • nasal speech
  • drooping of one or both eyelids
  • double vision
  • altered speaking
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • problems in chewing
  • limited facial expressions
It is possible that Neuromuscular Disorders shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following are the most common causes of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • genetic factors
  • environmental factors
  • antibodies blocking acetylcholine or the muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase
  • abnormally large thymus
  • tumors of the thymus

Other Causes of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following are the less common causes of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • stress

Risk Factors for Neuromuscular Disorders

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • ages of 55 and 75
  • being male
  • Caucasians and non-Hispanics race
  • people with sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Prevention of Neuromuscular Disorders

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Neuromuscular Disorders. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • take proper nutritious diet

Occurrence of Neuromuscular Disorders

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Neuromuscular Disorders cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Neuromuscular Disorders can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Neuromuscular Disorders can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • Electromyogram: To detect the electrical activity of the muscles
  • Nerve conduction study: To measure the nerves' ability to send impulses to muscles in different areas of the body
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To view the detailed images of the brain and spinal cord
  • Lumbar puncture: To analyse the spinal fluid by removing a sample of the spinal fluid
  • Blood and urine tests: To eliminate the possibility of other diseases
  • Muscle biopsy: To diagnose muscle disease by removing a small portion of the muscle
  • Neurological examination: To evaluate the neurological health and confirm the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis
  • Edrophonium test: Improves the muscle strength
  • Ice pack test: To assess the droopy eyelid for signs of improvement
  • Blood test: To determine the presence of abnormal antibodies that disrupt the receptor sites
  • Pulmonary function tests: To evaluate whether your condition is affecting your breathing
  • Imaging scans: To check the abnormality in your thymus
  • Repetitive nerve stimulation: To measure the nerve's ability to send a signal to your muscle
  • Single-fiber electromyography: To calculate the electrical activity traveling between your brain and your muscle

Doctor for Diagnosis of Neuromuscular Disorders

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • General physicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Nutritionists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Hematologists
  • Neurologists

Complications of Neuromuscular Disorders if untreated

Yes, Neuromuscular Disorders causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Neuromuscular Disorders is left untreated:
  • breathing problems
  • respiratory failure
  • malnutrition
  • dehydration
  • pneumonia
  • dementia
  • speaking problems
  • myasthenic crisis
  • thymus tumors
  • underactive or overactive thyroid
  • autoimmune conditions

Procedures for Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following procedures are used to treat Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • Mechanical ventilation: To aid breathing and improves the quality of life and prolongs survival
  • Tracheostomy: Inflates and deflates the lungs
  • Feeding tube: Ensure proper hydration and nutrition
  • Video-assisted thymectomy: To remove the thymus gland through small incisions
  • Robot-assisted thymectomy: To remove the thymus gland using a robotic system
  • Plasmapheresis: To remove the antibodies that block transmission of signals from your nerve endings to your muscles' receptor sites

Self-care for Neuromuscular Disorders

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • Proper nutrition intake: To reduce the chances of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Adjust your eating routine: Improves the muscle strength
  • Use safety precautions at home: Helps in preventing myasthenia gravis
  • Use electric appliances and power tools: Helps in conserving energy
  • Wear an eye patch: Relieves the problem
  • Plan for the physical activity: Plan the activity to coincide with the time at which you have the most energy
  • Quit smoking: Reduces the chances of disease

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Neuromuscular Disorders:
  • Regular exercise: Improves the sense of well-being
  • Speech therapy: To make your speech more clearly understood
  • Occupational therapy: Helps you find ways to remain independent despite hand and arm weakness

Patient Support for Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders

The following actions may help Neuromuscular Disorders patients:
  • Join a support group: You may find comfort in a support group with others who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Be hopeful: Improves quality of life for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Find someone to talk with: Discuss feelings with a friend or family member makes you feel comfortable

Time for Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Neuromuscular Disorders to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Neuromuscular Disorders.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Movement Disorders
Multiple Sclerosis
Muscle Disorders
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis
Neurologic Diseases
Peripheral Neuropathy
Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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