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Neuromuscular disorders

Aster Hospitals provides a wide range of treatment options for neuromuscular disorders and diseases that impact the nerves that supply impulses and function to the muscles in different parts of the body. 

The human body is home to more than 650 muscles that have voluntary action and help to move different body parts. A neuromuscular disorder typically starts with a malfunction or death of the nerve cells supplying the voluntary muscles. It generally happens in muscle fibers, peripheral nerves, or the junction between nerves and muscles.

The voluntary muscles move different body parts, such as the face, hands, and legs. Several neuromuscular disorders are seen to manifest as a hereditary disease and also as a side effect of other autoimmune conditions.

Common neuromuscular disorders

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

This condition causes death and damage to nerve cells as the disease progresses. Symptoms include weak muscles, difficulty in walking, difficulty in using hands, uncoordinated movements, problems with swallowing, and speech difficulties.

Charcot Marie tooth disease

This is an inherited disorder that propagates several symptoms due to damaged nerves. This disease progresses very slowly and is not categorized to be fatal. Symptoms include weakness in the limbs.

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)

This is an autoimmune disorder that damages the protective covering (sheath) that surrounds the nerve tissue. Symptoms include weakness in the limbs and extremities.

Gillian-Barre syndrome

This syndrome is a group of symptoms which belong to an autoimmune disorder. The cause of this disease is the attack of the body's immune system on the peripheral nervous system. It primarily attacks the myelinated sheath that surrounds the nervous tissue. Symptoms include weakness and restricted movement of the limbs.

Lambert Eaton syndrome

This is an autoimmune disorder in which the antibodies produced by the body's immune system attack the calcium channel at the neuromuscular junction (junction between the transmitting nerve cell and a muscle fiber). Symptoms include shivering extremities, weakened muscles, and muscle fatigue in the arms and legs.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that impacts large areas of the myelin sheath that protects the nervous tissue. Unlike other conditions, multiple sclerosis affects the nerves in different body parts, such as the optic nerve, brain, and spinal cord. A person with multiple sclerosis may show different phases of the disease in episodes. Sometimes, they may have an increase in the severity of the symptoms, and sometimes, they may not have any symptoms at all.

Myasthenia gravis

This autoimmune disease affects the muscle receptors anywhere in the body. It usually targets the large muscles of the limbs. Symptoms include difficulty in walking, uncoordinated hand and leg movements, speech difficulty, vision issues, and eating problems.

Peripheral neuropathy

These are a group of symptoms that are the precipitation of systemic disorders such as diabetes. It affects the nerves beyond the spinal cord and the brain. Symptoms include pain and tingling sensation in the extremities and muscle weakness.

Spinal muscular atrophy

This severe genetic disorder affects the muscles in different parts of the body. It can begin in infancy or childhood, but some cases are also seen with onset in adulthood. It progressively degenerates the muscles and imapcts lifespan. Symptoms include loss of muscle tissue in the arms and legs, difficulty in speech, breathing issues, and difficulty in swallowing. 

General symptoms of neuromuscular disorders

Neuromuscular disorders can be seen at any point in life. Many disorders start in infancy or childhood, whereas some develop symptoms when a person is older. A typical feature of neuromuscular disease symptoms is that the severity of symptoms can vary drastically from one person to another. One may present mild symptoms, whereas another person with the same disorder may have more severe symptoms. The more common symptoms include 

  • Vision problems
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Difficulty in eating and swallowing
  • Breathing problems
  • Balance and movement issues
  • Pain
  • Stiffness of muscles and joints
  • Sudden cramps in the muscle
  • Weakness of limbs
  • Loss of muscle mass

Risk factors for neuromuscular disorders

The risk factors for neuromuscular disorders include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Chronic deficiency of essential vitamins

Health Conditions Treated

  •  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lambert Eaton syndrome
  • Gillian-Barre syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Charcot Marie tooth disease
  • ALS
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Inflammatory myopathies
  • Dejerine-Sottas disease
  • Friedreich's ataxia
  • Metabolic muscle disorders
  • Central core disease
  • Hyperthyroid myopathy
  • Myotonia congenita
  • Myotubular myopathy
  • Nemaline myopathy
  • Paramiotonia congenita
  • Periodic paralysis-hypokalemic-hyperkalemic

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Can neuromuscular disorders be treated completely?

Almost 90% of neuromuscular disorders have no cure yet. Medical treatment and advanced therapy can help patients live a better quality of life.

What is the average lifespan of someone with muscular dystrophy?

Once detected, the latest medical technology can help a patient with mild or moderate muscular dystrophy live up to 15 to 30 years without complications.

Which substance is detected in the blood due to muscle weakness?

A substance known as creatine kinase is elevated in the blood in patients suffering from muscle weakness or atrophy.

Which vitamin is associated with neuromuscular weakness?

Chronic deficiency of vitamin D is found to be closely associated with muscle loss and weakness.

How common are neuromuscular disorders globally?

According to research, from the University of London, at least 1.4 crore people are globally affected by neuromuscular disorders.

What is the ideal diet for neuromuscular disorders?

Lean protein with a low trans fat diet is ideal for neuromuscular diseases. Fish fats and fish oil are found to be beneficial for bone joints and cartilage.

Which foods help to reduce muscle weakness?

Which foods help to reduce muscle weakness?

Which doctors help to treat neuromuscular disorders?

A team of doctors including physicians, neurologists, and orthopedics helps diagnose, evaluate, and treat most neuromuscular disorders.

Advanced Technology & Facilities

Neuromuscular disorders

At Aster Hospitals, we have a well-equipped system for diagnosing, treating, and managing neuromuscular disorders. Our advanced medical labs, computer-assisted diagnostic tools, and an expert panel of experienced specialists help patients with neuromuscular disorders live healthier lives.

Diagnostic tools for neuromuscular disorders

The doctor will get the following diagnostic tests done to rule out neuromuscular disorders.

  • Physical examination.
  • Examination of symptoms.
  • Assessment of family history and previous medical history.
  • Blood test: Enzyme detection related to certain autoimmune conditions.
  • Electromyography (EMG): This test helps to detect the extent of electrical activity and nerve signal transmission in the muscles.
  • MRI and CT scan is done to get detailed 3D images of the brain and spinal cord. This helps to get images of defects or lesions that can influence the onset of neuromuscular symptoms.
  • Spinal tap or lumbar puncture: This test is done on the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), collected from the spinal space between the lumbar vertebrae. It is done under spinal anesthesia and helps detect enzymes, proteins, WBCs, or RBCs in the CSF.
  • NCV test or nerve conduction study: This test uses a device to check for the nerve signals sent from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system.
  • Muscle biopsy: For this test, a small part of the muscle tissue is tested for muscle tissue degeneration or disease.
  • Genetic testing: This test is done only in patients with grade 1 or 2 relatives with a neuromuscular disorder, as neuromuscular disorders are genetically linked.
  • Automatic laboratory - This will evaluate automatic neuropathies and small fibre neuropathies.

Treatment for neuromuscular disorders

Here are the various treatment options for neuromuscular disorders

  • Medications to relieve muscle stiffness, pain, and cramps
  • Medications to normalize nerve conduction
  • Medications to increase muscle strength and decrease muscle loss
  • Immunosuppressants: Medications to decrease the body's immunity attack on the peripheral nervous system
  • Immunoglobulin therapy to counter antibodies attacking the peripheral nervous system
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Invasive surgery

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