Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is an incurable, degenerative illness that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.
It slowly affects the ability of the sufferer to walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.
But not all symptoms necessarily happen to everyone and it is unlikely they will all develop at the same time, or in any specific order. The effects of MND can vary enormously from person to person, from the presenting symptoms to the rate of the disease’s progression.
There is no cure for MND, which can affect any adult at any age, although most people with the disease are over the age of 40, with the highest incidence occurring between the ages of 50 and 70, the Motor Neurone Disease Association says.
Men are about twice as likely to have MND diagnosed.
Common symptoms and effects of MND include muscle cramps and spasms, stiff joints, incontinence, bowel problems, speech and communication issues, respiratory troubles and difficulties eating and drinking.
Muscles in the hands, feet and mouth are often the first affected.
* Jennifer Bell