Kevin Sinfield MND challenge: What is Motor Neurone Disease and what are the early warning signs?

Rob Burrow's diagnosis of MND has helped put the condition into the national spotlight.

Motor Neurone Disease is a degenerative illness that affects the brain and nerves, causing weakness over time.

It is an uncommon condition but it is one with ever-growing awareness in the UK, in part thanks to the fundraising and campaigning done by former Leeds-Rhino players Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow.

There is no cure for the disease, but there is a range of treatments to help patients' quality of life.

What are the early warning signs of MND?

The NHS says that symptoms of MND can happen gradually and may not be obvious at first.

  • Weakness in your ankle or leg – you might trip, or find it harder to climb stairs

  • Slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods

  • A weak grip – you might drop things, or find it hard to open jars or do up buttons

  • Muscle cramps and twitches

  • Weight loss – your arms or leg muscles may have become thinner over time

  • Difficulty stopping yourself from crying or laughing in inappropriate situations

Whilst all of these symptoms may not be caused by MND it is advised that people should see a GP as soon as possible to get the correct diagnosis so that care can be arranged as soon as possible.

Support and guidance

For people living with or who have just been diagnosed with MND, there are a number of ways to get help and support.