There is a range of different Neuromuscular disorders but they all involve a disconnect between the muscular system and the nervous system that is responsible for their proper function. This form of disorder can be highly disabling in more advanced cases and can lead to significantly reduced quality of life.
However, new studies have shown that although the prevalence of neuromuscular disorders is increasing year over year, the mortality rate is steadily declining. This means that related conditions are being treated more effectively and the survival rate is showing signs of improvement. The specialists at the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography have years of experience helping our patients manage neuromuscular disorders.
What are Neuromuscular Disorders?
Neuromuscular disorders affect the function of your muscles and are due to problems with the health of your peripheral nervous system and how those nerves interact with your muscles.
Some of the more familiar neuromuscular disorders include:
- Diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage caused by diabetes
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), a motor neuron disease that destroys the cells controlling voluntary muscle activity
- Small fiber neuropathy, which affects the nerve endings of your skin
- Autonomic neuropathies, which affects the nerves controlling your heart function, blood pressure, body temperature, and digestion
- Hereditary muscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy
- Myasthenia gravis, which causes communication problems between nerves and muscles
What are the Symptoms of Neuromuscular Disorders?
Symptoms vary widely, depending on the type of disorder you have and where the damaged nerves and muscles are located. The one symptom all have in common, however, is progressive muscle weakness and muscle fatigue that can eventually threaten your ability to digest food, walk, or breathe. Otherwise, symptoms common to neuromuscular disorders may include:
- Muscle twitching, cramps, aches, and pains
- Muscle loss (atrophy)
- Tingling, numbness, burning pain in the region affected by small fiber neuropathy, often your hands and feet
- Balance issues
- Problems moving
- Droopy eyelids, often seen in myasthenia gravis
- Double or blurred vision
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble breathing
What to Expect From Neuromuscular Disorder Treatment?
Your evaluation at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography starts with a thorough exam, a careful review of your medical history, and a detailed discussion of your symptoms. Depending on the exam findings and your symptoms, Dr. Khan may recommend several diagnostic studies, including:
- Blood tests to check for elevated enzymes and other abnormalities
- Electromyography (EMG) to record the electrical activity of your muscle
- Nerve conduction studies, which reveal how well signals travel from your nerves to your muscles
- Muscle biopsy to examine a sample of your muscle tissue under a microscope
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain and spinal cord
Treatment goals include relieving your symptoms, delaying the progression of the disease, and enhancing your quality of life through medications, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Dr. Khan may also recommend lifestyle changes such as an improved diet to boost your nutritional status.
Ready To Learn More About Neuromuscular Disorders?
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about treatment options, schedule your evaluation today with Dr. Khan at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography. Call or book an appointment online today to get started!