Early symptoms of motor neurone disease are often mild. 

They may include:

  • Stumbling due to weakness of the leg muscles
  • Difficulty holding objects due to weakness of the hand muscles
  • Slurring of speech or swallowing difficulties due to weakness of the tongue and throat muscles
  • Cramps and muscle twitching (fasciculation).

MND affects the voluntary muscles. Symptoms include difficulty talking, swallowing, breathing and moving the body. Some people may also experience cognitive and behavioural changes.

MND is a progressive disease. This means that symptoms get worse over time.

For most people with MND the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are not affected.

The bladder is not usually directly affected by MND. However, some people experience changes to bladder control. Constipation can occur, especially when people become less mobile or have to change their diet due to swallowing difficulties.

The effects of motor neurone disease - initial symptoms, rate and pattern of progression, and survival time after diagnosis vary significantly from person to person.