Myoclonus is the medical term for a quick and involuntary jerk of the muscles. One of the most common forms of myoclonus is hiccups. Secondary myoclonus is myoclonus that exists because of an underlying condition. The other two types of myoclonus are essential myoclonus, which exists on its own, and epileptic myoclonus, which is related to an epileptic condition.
Multiple conditions can cause secondary myoclonus. People may experience muscle jerks when they have a head injury, infection, reaction to medications, metabolic disorder, or prolonged oxygen deprivation. There are also a number of nervous system conditions that can cause secondary myoclonus. Learn about these now.
Huntington's disease is a progressive genetic illness that causes the brain's nerve cells to break down. The disease has an impact on an individual's ability to function, and it results in cognitive, psychiatric, and movement disorders. The majority of patients with Huntington's disease begin showing symptoms between thirty and fifty years old, though the disease also sometimes occurs later. If symptoms develop prior to the age of twenty, the condition is referred to as juvenile Huntington's disease. The disease tends to progress faster in patients under twenty years old. Secondary myoclonus is just one of several movement disorders that occur with Huntington's disease. Patients may also experience muscle contractures, muscle rigidity, abnormal eye movements, impaired gait, and difficulty with swallowing and speech. When voluntary movements are impaired, patients may have a difficult time performing day-to-day activities, communicating, working, and living independently.
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Multiple System Atrophy
Multiple system atrophy is a rare neurological disorder that affects the body's involuntary functions. The condition shares so many symptoms with Parkinson's disease that it's often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease. Multiple system atrophy patients typically have their muscle control, bladder function, breathing, and blood pressure affected. Though there isn't a cure, there are medications to manage symptoms, which usually develop when patients are in their fifties and sixties. There are two main types of multiple system atrophy. The most common, the Parkinsonian type, progresses very similarly to Parkinson's disease. The other type is cerebellar multiple system atrophy, which mainly has symptoms related to a lack of muscle coordination. Patients may also have slurred speech and difficulty with swallowing. The other main symptom is postural hypotension, which occurs when an individual's blood pressure drops significantly when they stand up.
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Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a degenerative and fatal brain disorder. There are approximately 350 cases each year in the United States. Experts estimate about one in one million individuals in the world has the illness. The symptoms usually begin at around sixty years old, and around seventy percent of patients die in less than a year. The early stages cause behavioral changes, failing memory, visual disturbances, and a lack of coordination. Mental deterioration is more pronounced as time goes by, with involuntary movements becoming common. Other common late-stage symptoms include weakness in the extremities, blindness, and coma. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has three main categories. The sporadic type appears in individuals without any risk factors and makes up about eighty-five percent of cases. The hereditary type occurs in individuals with a family history of the condition and a specific Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-related gene mutation. The acquired type involves disease transmission through exposure to the nervous system or brain tissue.
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Kidney Or Liver Failure
Secondary myoclonus can be caused by kidney or liver failure. Kidney failure is the final stage of kidney disease. When the kidneys have stopped working well enough to provide filtration, patients need to undergo dialysis or have a kidney transplant. When kidneys are starting to fail, patients might experience itching, general unwellness, unusual changes in urination, trouble sleeping or catching their breath, and muscle cramps. Sudden kidney failure might cause back and abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, nosebleeds, rashes, and vomiting. Liver failure occurs when a large portion of the liver has become damaged beyond repair, causing the liver to be unable to function. When the liver fails over time, it's usually caused by conditions like malnutrition, hemochromatosis, cirrhosis, long-term consumption of alcohol, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Acute liver failure may occur rapidly because of an acetaminophen overdose, certain viruses, reactions to herbal and prescription medications, and ingestion of poisonous mushrooms.
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Lipid Storage Disease
Secondary myoclonus can be caused by lipid storage diseases, which are a collection of genetic metabolic disorders that cause toxic amounts of lipids to accumulate throughout tissues and cells in the body. The diseases occur when individuals don't produce enough enzymes to break down lipids, or they produce poorly-functioning enzymes. When the body stores lipids excessively, it can lead to permanent tissue and cellular damage. This is particularly serious in the peripheral nervous system, bone marrow, brain, spleen, and liver. Lipidoses are inherited when one or both parents carry a defective lipid-metabolizing enzyme gene. With autosomal recessive cases, neither parent is affected, but both parents have a copy of the gene. With sex-linked recessive cases, the mother has the gene on her X chromosome.