Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disease that involves the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement that include chewing, walking, breathing and talking. The symptoms get worse with time currently there is no cure for ALS and no effective treatment to halt, or reverse, the progression of the disease.
Messages from motor neurons in the brain are transmitted to motor neurons in the spinal cord and to motor nuclei of the brain and from there on to a particular muscle or muscles of the body. In ALS, both the upper motor neurons and low motor neurons degenerate or die, and stop sending messages to the muscles.
People suffering from ALS die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years from when the symptoms first appear. However, about 10 percent of people with ALS survive for 10 or more years. ALS is a common neuromuscular disease worldwide.
Potential risk factors for ALS include symptoms develop between the age of 55 and 75. Women are more likely to develop ALS than men. Studies suggest that military veterans are about 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop ALS. It could be because they are exposed to lead, pesticides and other environmental toxins. The early onset of ALS can be very subtle that the symptoms can be overlooked. These symptoms gradually develop into a more obvious weakness. Some of early symptoms include muscle cramps, slurred nasal speech and difficulty in chewing or swallowing. People with ALS retain their ability to perform higher mental processes such as reasoning, remembering, understanding, and problem solving. They suffer from progressive loss of function that leads to depression and anxiety. There is also growing evidence that they develop a form of dementia over time.
ALS cases are sporadic that means they occur at random with no clear association with risk factors and no family history of the disease. Family members suffering from ALS are at an increased risk of the disease however the overall risk is very low and mostly not many develop ALS. ALS is diagnosed through a series of tests however primarily the diagnosis is based on detailed history of the symptoms and signs observed by a physician during physical examination.
There is no cure for ALS however there are treatments available that can control symptoms, prevent unnecessary complications and make living with this disease easier. Health care professionals such as nutritionists, social workers, respiratory therapists and clinical psychologists provide supportive care that helps people manage symptoms.
We, at Sadhna Wellness treat ALS with various possible treatments. You should call for us for an appointment to discuss how you can manage a disease like ALS.