Neuromuscular disease | ResMed

Neuromuscular disease (NMD)

Learn more about NMD symptoms and treatment options.


What is neuromuscular disease (NMD)?

Neuromuscular disease (NMD) is the name given to a range of diseases and conditions that affect the nerves controlling muscles or weaken the muscles themselves. If the nerves can’t communicate with muscles, the muscles then can’t function properly.

Symptoms of respiratory failure in NMD patients include:

  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • Fatigue, weakness and sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Mood changes
  • High CO2 values

Some people with NMD may:

  • Have difficulty swallowing
  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Require ventilation
  • Require a wheelchair

Why is it important to treat neuromuscular disease?

Because NMD affects your muscles, you may not have the strength to breathe on your own. As you can imagine, if you can’t breathe properly during the day, you won’t have much energy to do many of the things you like to do. And not being able to breathe properly at night prevents your body from being able to perform its vital functions and recharge for the next day.

It’s important that you start treatment with a ventilator if your physician has indicated it’s suitable for you. Treating the breathing and sleeping issues caused by your NMD can make a huge difference to your quality of life. By being ventilated, the quality of your breathing will improve and you can start to enjoy a greater feeling of health.


Treatment options for NMD

Studies have shown that noninvasive ventilation (NIV) can improve the symptoms associated with respiratory failure for patients with neuromuscular disease and lead to:

  • Improved swallowing
  • An easier time breathing
  • Reductions in fatigue and sleepiness
  • Fewer morning headaches
  • Better concentration
  • Improvement in mood