Information about general health is limited to specific issues raised by people living with MND. It is recommended that for all aspects of general health and specific health issues that people should contact their General Practitioner, Family Doctor or care team.
Diet and Weight
It is important to maintain general health by having a balanced and nourishing diet. Even so, variation in weight can occur. Some people gain weight owing to inactivity, even though their diet is good. Others lose weight because of muscle wasting, even though their appetite is good. Attempting to gain weight is not advisable, as it will tend to be gained as fat rather than muscle. Dietitians can assist by developing specific strategies to ensure that the person with MND’s nutritional needs are met.
Bladder and Bowel Health
Generally, MND does not directly affect the bladder or bowel muscles. In some instances of PLS urinary urgency can occur. Swallowing difficulties may lead to constipation as a result of a diet containing insufficient fluid or roughage. A speech pathologist can help with swallowing problems.
- Normal fluid intake should be maintained if possible. Low fluid intake will lead to low urinary volume. Combined with inactivity this can lead to urinary tract infection. Symptoms of infection include frequent passing of small amounts of urine accompanied by pain or a burning sensation, low back pain, fever or cloudy urine. Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
- The diet should contain plenty of fibre in foods like fruit, vegetables, cereals and wholemeal bread. Consult a speech pathologist about food preparation if swallowing difficulty is present.
- If you are constipated, take a laxative until normal function returns. Since there are different kinds of laxative action, it is best to seek expert advice about the most appropriate one.