Amyotrophic The disease is classified in with a

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating disease that viciously damages and destroys nerve cells and results in disability. The disease causes nerve cells to gradually atrophy and die. The first signs of symptoms for ALS include slurred speech, twitching of muscles, and weakness in a limb. It eventually disturbs the muscles needed to breath, eat, speak, and move. The disease is classified in with a larger group of disorders established as motor neuron diseases.

These diseases generate gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons. Specifically, in ALS the neurons stop sending messages to the muscles due to the motor neurons dying or degenerating. The muscles will then abate, fasciculate, and atrophy. Over time, the brain will no longer be able to inaugurate and regulate voluntary movements. Typically, anywhere from 3 to 5 years from the first sign of symptoms a person with ALS will die from respiratory failure. Currently there is no cure for ALS.     Signs and symptoms include: problems with keeping the head up or keeping good posture; tripping or falling, weakness in the leg, feet, or ankles; muscle cramps and twitching in the arms, shoulders, and tongue; problems walking or doing ADLs; hand instability or clumsiness; slurred speech or trouble swallowing.

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ALS will eventually spread to other parts of the body, but will most often start in the feet, hands, or limbs. Muscles will progressively atrophy as the disease advances. ALS doesn’t typically affect thinking ability, bowel or bladder control, or senses. In some ALS cases the disease is hereditary, while the others remain with no known cause. Researchers are also looking into protein mishandling, chemical imbalances, gene mutation, and disorganized immune responses. Research is also being done into cellular defects, stem cells, family versus sporadic ALS, biomarkers, and new treatment options.Various risk factors include heredity, age, and gender. Environmental aspects that may trigger or influence risk of ALS include smoking, environmental toxin exposure, and military service.

Complications that people with ALS may experience include eating problems, breathing problems, dementia, and speaking problems. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can be hard to diagnose early on because it mimics many other neural diseases. Tests to rule out other conditions may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spinal tap, blood and urine tests, electromyography (EMG), muscle biopsy, or nerve conduction study. Treatment for ALS can slow the advancement of symptoms, avert complications, and make a person more comfortable. Two medications are currently approved for the treatment of ALS, Riluzole (Rilutek) and Edaravone (Radicava). A doctor may also prescribe medications to provide alleviation from symptoms including muscle cramps and spasms, spasticity, constipation, fatigue, excessive salivation, excessive phlegm, pain, depression, sleep problems, and uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying.

Some therapies that people with ALS can do include breathing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritional support, psychological and social support.


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