- by Dr Reginald Varadarajulu VSM
- 0 Shares
- Jan 19 2018
UNDERSTANDING THE DEGENERATIVE DISEASE: ALS
ALS- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a degenerative motor neuron disease. This is the most common neurological disorder that affects the nerves that control movement of muscles. This diseases affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord leading to permanent damage of voluntary muscle actions leading to paralysis.
Causes and factors
- ALS is of two types Sporadic and Familial. Sporadic is the most common and is the type that occurs very randomly and a clear causes is unknown while Familial is caused by genetic inheritance.
- Other possible reasons one develops the condition is chemical imbalance due to toxic levels of glutamate, immune response were healthy cells are attacked or accumulation of proteins due to lack of processing.
- Some environmental factors that could possibly lead to ALS is trauma of any kind like mechanical electrical or mental and exposure to high levels of chemicals or heavy metals.
The symptoms of this disease usually develops after the age of 50 and become more visible as the disease progresses. The disease progresses at different rates for each individual but there are some common symptoms that are observed:
- Muscles become weak
- Difficulty in walking or doing daily activities
- Lack of coordination
- Increased clumsiness
- Body pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Slurring of speech
- Twitching and cramping
Diagnosis and treatment
Many diseases have similar symptoms and ALS has no definitive test so, diagnosis is based on a number of tests that rule out other possible diseases. Tests like EMG and NCS help in testing the nerve responses and diagnosing damage. MRI scans rule out other possible problems like tumours.
Although there is no cure for ALS, treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and progression of the diseases. Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy helps with exercises and assistive equipment to help the patient with overall wellbeing and everyday functioning. In later stages when speech and respiratory difficulties begin, therapy is provided accordingly. Different drugs are also administered to treat the various symptoms of ALS as it progresses.
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