About ALS & Neuromuscular Disorders
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, is a condition where certain nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain gradually die. These nerve cells are referred to as motor neurons, and they control the muscles, which let you move your body parts. ALS is as well known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Discussing with your physician, joining a support group, or getting counseling, can help you manage your feelings. Your family members might as well need counseling and support as your disease worsens.What causes ALS?
Doctors do not know what brings about ALS. In roughly 1 case out of ten, it runs in families. This implies 9 times out of ten, an individual with ALS does not have a family member with the condition.What are the symptoms?
The first sign of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is usually weakness in the tongue, one hand, one leg, or the face. The weakness gradually spreads to both legs and arms. This occurs as the motor neurons gradually die, they stop transmitting signals to the muscles. So the muscles do not have anything informing them to move. As time passes, without signals from the motor neurons telling the muscles to move, the muscles become small and weak.
As time passes, ALS as well leads to:
How is ALS diagnosed?
- Muscle twitching.
- Problems with breathing, eating, speaking, walking, and swallowing.
- Trouble using your fingers, and hands to perform tasks.
- Problems with thinking, memory, and changes in personality. However, these are not aren't common.
It may be difficult for your doctor to tell if you have the condition. It might not be clear that you have the ASL until symptoms worsen or until your physician has conducted more testing. To check if you have the disease, your doctor will perform a physical examination and will ask you regarding your past health and symptoms. You will as well have tests, which show how your nerves and muscles are working.
Simply because you have twitching, fatigue, muscle weakness, and stiffness does not imply that you have ALS. Those symptoms may also be due to other conditions. So consult your doctor if you have those symptoms. The physician will refer you to a neurologist to confirm.How is ASL treated?
There's no cure for the disease; however, treatment may help you stay strong and independent for as long as possible. For instance:
- Occupational and physical therapy may help you stay strong thereby making the most of the abilities you still have.
- Speech therapy may help you with talking, coughing, and swallowing after weakness in the chest, face, and throat starts.
- Supportive equipment and devices may help you communicate, stay mobile, and perform everyday tasks such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Some examples are shower seats, wheelchairs, handrails, canes, raised toilet seats, walkers, and ramps. You may as well get braces to support your neck, feet, or ankles.
- Medicines: you will find medicines that can assist with most of the symptoms you may have, like pain, extra saliva and drooling, muscle issues (twitching, stiffness, cramps), and mood swings and depression.
- A feeding tube may help you get adequate nutrition to stay strong as long as you can.
- Breathing devices may help you breathe without difficulty as your chest muscles get weak.
A medicine known as riluzole (Rilutek) might extend survival by roughly two months. However, it does not improve the quality of life or symptoms in ways that those with ASL, their doctors, their caregivers have been able to notice. Many people stand the effects of riluzole very well; however, it may cause adverse reactions, which include coughing, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and weakness.Palliative care
Palliative care is a type of care for those who have a severe disease. It is different from care to cure your disease. Its objective is to improve your quality of life-not only in your body but even in your spirit and mind.
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