ALS is a nervous system disease which severely damages neurons in your brain and spinal cord. Neurons help your brain pass a message to muscles throughout your body, like your arms, and legs, these are called voluntary muscles. In particular, the upper and lower motor neurons are being destroyed. Because your neurons are being disturbed you have less control over your body. Eventually things that you need to survive will stop working like your lung or heart. ALS is a rapid disease that only last a 2-4 years before the person is at the end of their life.
Causes/Risk Factors Researchers are not sure what the cause of ALS is yet. Although, there are many ideas as to why it happens, it is still a big mystery and needs to be studied and tested. Some scientists believe it has something to do with heavy duty chemicals and metal exposures. ALS can sometimes run in the family (less than 10%); however, it can also occur randomly between the age of 19 and up. The only risk factor known is that men are more commonly diagnosed than women.
Tripping, dropping things, slurred speech, muscle cramping, twitches, spasms, and difficulty with finger and hand tasks,
As you can see, these signs at first are hard to tell, because many people do this on a day to day basis whether they are clumsy, or tired.
Later on Symptoms
Muscle weakness, atrophy, muscle cramps, weakened reflex, difficulty/loss of swallowing, inability to speak, shortness of breath while resting or loss of ability to breath, unable to chew, possibly behavior changes ( uncommon)
* Symptoms are different and can vary depending on what person is affecting.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any available treatments for people living with ALS. All doctors and specialists can do is manage the pain and slow down the symptoms. A common drug ALS patient’s use is Riluzole. However, it comes with bad symptoms like dizziness, elevated liver enzymes, weakness and reduced leukocytes in the blood.
Some other treatments that could benefit someone with ALS are speech therapy, occupational therapy, and a nutritionist.
Physical- smaller pieces of food.
Safety and Security- have a cane, leg brace, remove clutter, have house checked for ramps and other safety issues.
Love and Belonging-give emotional support, join a ALS coping group.
Self Esteem- let them do what they can, no pity, treat them like you would before.
Self-Actualization- continue with things they still can do and enjoy, range of motion