Neuromuscular diseases affect the nerves that control the voluntary muscles. The voluntary muscles are those that can be controlled, as is the case with the arms and legs. Nerve cells, also called neurons, send messages that control those muscles. When neurons become sick or die, communication between the nervous system and the muscles is interrupted. As a result, muscles weaken and are consumed. Weakness can lead to muscle spasms, cramps, pain and joint and movement problems. Sometimes, it also affects heart function and ability to breathe.
Many neuromuscular diseases are genetic, which means there is a familial tendency or there is a mutation in the genes. Sometimes, they can be caused by a disorder of the immune system. Most of them have no cure. The goal of treatment is to improve symptoms, increase mobility and life span.