Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it.
ALS and Motor Neurons
It’s a disease that affects the motor neurons. These nerve cells send messages from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the muscles. There are two main types;
- Upper motor neurons – nerve cells in the brain
- Lower motor neurons – nerve cells in the spinal cord to muscle
These motor neurons control all the voluntary movements — the muscle in the arms, legs, and face. They tell the muscles to contract so a person can walk, run, chew and swallow food and even breathe.
ALs is one of a few motor neuron diseases. Some others include;
- Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)
- Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP)
- Pseudobulbar palsy
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of ALS usually appear when a person is in their late 50’s or early 60’s, but it can happen at other ages.
Progression varies between individuals. In the early stages, signs and symptoms may be barely noticeable, but the weakness becomes more visible over time.
Common symptoms include;
- Difficulty carrying out daily activities, including walking
- Increased clumsiness
- Weakness in the feet, hands, legs, and ankles
- Cramping and twitching in the arms, shoulders, or tongue
- Difficulty maintaining good posture and holding the head up
- Uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying, known as emotional lability
- Cognitive changes
- Slurring of speech and difficulty with voice projection
- Problems with saliva and mucus
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing, in the later stages
Treatments can’t reverse the damage of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But they can slow the progression of symptoms, prevent complications, and make the patient more comfortable and independent.
The patient may need an integrated team of doctors trained in many areas and other health care professionals to provide care.
- Riluzole (Rulutek)
The doctor might also prescribe medications to provide relief from symptoms including;
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Excessive saliva and phlegm
- Sleep problems
- Uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying
- Breathing care
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Nutritional Support
- Psychological and Social Support
What We Offer
We at Almurshidi Medical Tourism will find the best doctors to cater to your needs. We are partnered with a wide network of hospitals and clinics that provide top quality medical experience.
We provide free medical estimates, make medical appointments, and provide several medical opinions if needed at no cost.
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