Respiratory care for people with neuromuscular disorders
Although neuromuscular disorders do not affect the lungs themselves, they can affect the muscles involved in breathing and coughing. As respiratory muscles weaken, it can become difficult to maintain adequate minute ventilation (the amount of air that must move in and out of your lungs in order to inhale enough oxygen and exhale enough carbon dioxide). This, in turn, can result in recurrent chest infections, chronic headaches, ever-present fatigue and increased muscle weakness.
While not everyone with a neuromuscular disorder is at risk of developing breath problems— Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, for instance, mainly affects the lower extremities—someone experiencing breathlessness (a key symptom of breathing impairment) should speak to his or her health-care team to determine the best course of action.