People affected by mitochondrial disease may also suffer from dystonia – uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms caused by incorrect signals from the brain. To mark Dystonia Awareness Week (May 5th - 13th) we've put together 10 facts about the disorder and its link to mitochondrial conditions.
- Dystonia is one of a range of different movement disorders common in mitochondrial disease.
- Symptoms of dystonia can include uncontrolled muscle cramps and spasms. It can also include parts of the body twisting into unusual positions.
- There are many different types of dystonia that can affect the whole body or just one part.
- Dystonia can be extremely painful and very debilitating. It can make daily activities difficult and can have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life.
- In a study of children with mitochondrial disease and a movement disorder, dystonia was the most common.
- The same study revealed that in adult patients with mitochondrial disease and a movement disorder, dystonia was the second most common.
- Dystonia is predominantly associated with genetic errors in the mitochondrial DNA but can also be associated with genetic errors in the nuclear DNA.
- Genetic errors in the mitochondrial DNA have been found in ~80% of children and adult patients with mitochondrial disease and dystonia.
- Dystonia is often associated with Leigh syndrome and Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) but has also been reported with other mitochondrial diseases.
- There are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of dystonia but they are not always effective.
For more information about dystonia visit www.dystonia.org.uk