What causes NDM

Non-dystrophic myotonia, or NDM, refers to a group of diseases that affect muscles. To understand what causes NDM, we must first understand how muscles work.

How do muscles work?

Muscles work by contracting and relaxing. To do this, they need electrical signals from the brain, which travel along nerves until they reach the muscle. When the signal reaches the muscle, it is dependent on microscopic channels in the muscle cell walls to translate the signal and trigger the muscle to contract. Normally, when the brain stops sending signals to the muscle, the muscle relaxes. This entire process happens in milliseconds.

“You often just get used to things in order to disguise the handicap. You don’t want to be reminded about it the whole time.”

— PD, Becker myotonia

What causes NDM?

In NDM, a genetic mutation causes a defect in either of two types of ion channels, which play roles in regulating the contraction and relaxation of muscles – these channels are called sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl) ion channels.1,2 Defects in these channels mean that the electrical signal continues to trigger a contraction or that muscle relaxation is delayed, both of which keep muscles contracted for longer than they would normally.

Different types of NDM are caused by different mutations in different ion channels; it is important to understand which type of NDM you have to help manage your symptoms better.

References
  • Hahn C, Salajegheh MK. Iran J Neurol 2016;15:46–53
  • Matthews E et al. Brain 2010;133:9–22

What’s your NDM story?

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Foods to avoid on a low-potassium diet*

  • Fruit1,2
  • Vegetables1,2
  • Beans/legumes1,3
  • Other1-3
  • Avocado
  • Artichoke
  • Baked beans
  • Bran cereal
  • Apricots
  • Beetroot
  • Kidney beans
  • Dairy (eg yoghurt, milk)
  • Bananas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits eg dates, raisins and prunes
  • Broccoli (cooked)
  • Brown rice
  • Grapefruit
  • Okra
  • Salt substitutes
  • Kiwi
  • Parsnip
  • Wholewheat bread and pasta
  • Mango
  • Potatoes (processed or with skin on)
  • Melons
  • Cooked spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Tomato (concentrated, eg. Tomato puree)
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranate and pomegranate juice
  • Fruit1,2

    Avocado

    Apricots

    Bananas

    Dried fruits eg dates, raisins and prunes

    Grapefruit

    Kiwi

    Mango

    Melons

    Nectarines

    Oranges and orange juice

    Papaya

    Pomegranate and pomegranate juice

  • Vegetables1,2

    Artichoke

    Beetroot

    Brussel sprouts

    Broccoli (cooked)

    Okra

    Parsnip

    Potatoes (processed or with skin on)

    Cooked spinach

    Tomato (concentrated, eg. Tomato puree)

  • Beans/legumes1,3

    Baked beans

    Kidney beans

    Lentils

  • Other1-3

    Bran cereal

    Dairy (eg yoghurt, milk)

    Nuts

    Brown rice

    Salt substitutes

    Wholewheat bread and pasta

*Meat and fish contain a moderate amount of potassium but they are an important source of protein so shouldn’t be avoided; Dairy products contain potassium but are an important source of calcium so should be consumed in moderation
References
  • WebMD. Low-potassium diet: what to know? Available at: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/low-potassium-diet-foods ; Accessed March 2021
  • St Georges Kidney Patients Association. Eating on a low potassium diet. Available at: https://www.sgkpa.org.uk/main/eating-well-on-a-low-potassium-diet-2 ; Accessed March 2021
  • NHS. Information for people on a low potassium diet. Available at: https://www.nth.nhs.uk/content/uploads/2019/02/PIL1061-Information-for-people-following-a-low-potassium-diet-Final-11.02.19-LP.pdf ; Accessed March 2021
  • NDM type1
  • Symptoms2,3
  • Which type of ion channel? 2,3
  • How is it inherited?2,3
  • Thomsen myotonia congenita

    (also called Thomsen myotonia or autosomal dominant myotonia congenita)
  • Lower limbs tend to be more affected, although can also affect the arms, hands and face. Stiffness may be worse when you first try to move after a period of inactivity, and may ease as you ‘warm up’.
  • Chloride (Cl-)
  • Autosomal dominant
  • Becker myotonia congenita

    (also called Becker myotonia, Becker disease, generalized myotonia, recessive generalized myotonia or autosomal recessive myotonia congenita
  • Lower limbs tend to be more affected, although can also affect the arms, hands and face. Stiffness may be worse when you first try to move after a period of inactivity, or if you are startled, and may ease as you ‘warm up’. Sometimes people with Becker myotonia congenita experience temporary weakness after an episode of myotonia.
  • Chloride (Cl-)
  • Autosomal recessive
  • Paramyotonia congenita

    (Also called Eulenburg disease, paralysis periodica paramyotonia, paramyotonia congenita of von Eulenburg, PMC or von Eulenburg’s disease)
  • Myotonia mainly affects hands and face and gets worse with exercise. Cold is also a key trigger of myotonia, and muscle weakness after an episode of myotonia may last hours or sometimes days.
  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Autosomal dominant
  • Sodium channel myotonia, SCM:

    myotonia permanens and myotonia fluctuans, acetazolamide-responsive myotonia (ARM) previously known as Potassium aggravated myotonias (PAM)
  • Potassium-aggravated myotonia is a rare form of NDM that affects all areas of the body. Myotonia attacks are triggered by eating potassium-rich foods. Symptoms may fluctuate widely from day to day (myotonia fluctuans) or are constant and severe (myotonia permanens).
  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Autosomal dominant
  • Other closely related sodium disorders with myotonia

    (including hyperkalemic paralysis or hyperPP)
  • Myotonia is usually mild, and often involves the eyelids, hands, and tongue. Attacks of weakness can occur at any time and are commonly triggered by rest following exercise, fasting, eating potassium-rich foods or stress.
  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Autosomal dominant
References
  • Stunnenberg B. Muscle Nerve. 2020 Oct; 62(4): 430–444
  • Hahn C, Salajegheh MK. Iran J Neurol 2016;15:46–53
  • Matthews E, et al. Brain 2010:133; 9–22
  • NDM type1

    Thomsen myotonia congenita

    (also called Thomsen myotonia or autosomal dominant myotonia congenita)

    Becker myotonia congenita

    (also called Becker myotonia, Becker disease, generalized myotonia, recessive generalized myotonia or autosomal recessive myotonia congenita

    Paramyotonia congenita

    (Also called Eulenburg disease, paralysis periodica paramyotonia, paramyotonia congenita of von Eulenburg, PMC or von Eulenburg’s disease)

    Sodium channel myotonia, SCM:

    myotonia permanens and myotonia fluctuans, acetazolamide-responsive myotonia (ARM) previously known as Potassium aggravated myotonias (PAM)

    Other closely related sodium disorders with myotonia

    (including hyperkalemic paralysis or hyperPP)

  • Symptoms2,3

    Lower limbs tend to be more affected, although can also affect the arms, hands and face. Stiffness may be worse when you first try to move after a period of inactivity, and may ease as you ‘warm up’.

    Lower limbs tend to be more affected, although can also affect the arms, hands and face. Stiffness may be worse when you first try to move after a period of inactivity, or if you are startled, and may ease as you ‘warm up’. Sometimes people with Becker myotonia congenita experience temporary weakness after an episode of myotonia.

    Myotonia mainly affects hands and face and gets worse with exercise. Cold is also a key trigger of myotonia, and muscle weakness after an episode of myotonia may last hours or sometimes days.

    Potassium-aggravated myotonia is a rare form of NDM that affects all areas of the body. Myotonia attacks are triggered by eating potassium-rich foods. Symptoms may fluctuate widely from day to day (myotonia fluctuans) or are constant and severe (myotonia permanens).

    Myotonia is usually mild, and often involves the eyelids, hands, and tongue. Attacks of weakness can occur at any time and are commonly triggered by rest following exercise, fasting, eating potassium-rich foods or stress.

  • Which type of ion channel? 2,3

    Chloride (Cl-)

    Chloride (Cl-)

    Sodium (Na+)

    Sodium (Na+)

    Sodium (Na+)

  • How is it inherited?2,3

    Autosomal dominant

    Autosomal recessive

    Autosomal dominant

    Autosomal dominant

    Autosomal dominant

References
  • Stunnenberg B. Muscle Nerve. 2020 Oct; 62(4): 430–444
  • Hahn C, Salajegheh MK. Iran J Neurol 2016;15:46–53
  • Matthews E, et al. Brain 2010:133; 9–22