This is a reference page as part of my Journey Parkinsonism Pugilistica my experience/journey by jackie
I am not a doctor or trained in the medical field or an expert. This is only my journey and if you think you have need medical advice suggest going to a doctor or medical facility!
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a-mi-o-TROE-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROE-sis), or ALS, is a nervous system (neurological) disease that causes muscle weakness and impacts physical function.
ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. ALS is a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells to gradually break down and die. In the United States, ALS is sometimes called motor neuron disease.
In most cases, doctors don’t know why ALS occurs. A small number of cases are inherited.
ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in an arm or leg, or sometimes with slurring of speech. Eventually, ALS can affect your ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. ALS can’t be cured and eventually leads to death.
Early signs and symptoms of ALS include:
- Difficulty walking, tripping or difficulty doing your normal daily activities
- Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
- Hand weakness or clumsiness
- Slurring of speech or trouble swallowing
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
- Difficulty holding your head up or keeping a good posture
The disease frequently begins in your hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances, your muscles become progressively weaker. This weakness eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing.
However, ALS doesn’t usually affect your bowel or bladder control, your senses, or your thinking ability. It’s possible to remain actively involved with your family and friends.
Established risk factors for ALS include:
- Heredity. Five to 10 percent of the people with ALS inherited it (familial ALS). In most people with familial ALS, their children have a 50-50 chance of developing the disease.
- Age. ALS most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Sex. Before the age of 65, slightly more men than women develop ALS. This sex difference disappears after age 70.
Military service. Recent studies indicate that people who have served in the military are at higher risk of ALS. Exactly what about military service may trigger the development of ALS is uncertain, but it may include exposure to certain metals or chemicals, traumatic injuries, viral infections and intense exertion.
Treatments and drugs
Because there’s no reversing the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, treatments focus on slowing the progression of symptoms, preventing unnecessary complications and making you more comfortable and independent.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications to provide relief from other symptoms, including:
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Excessive salivation
- Excessive phlegm
- Sleep problems
- Uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying
Regular exercise can also help improve your sense of well-being. Appropriate stretching can help prevent pain and help your muscles function at their best.