ALS which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It attacks certain cells in the brain and spinal cord needed to keep our muscles moving. Early signs of it include ;
- Muscle cramps and muscle twitching
- Weakness in hands ,legs , feet , and ankles
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing.
However it does not affect any of the senses like sight touch hearing taste or smell. The average person with ALS will live 2-5 years at most after first signs of being diagnosed. About 10% of people with ALS will live to ten years. The variable rate of disease progression makes prognosis difficult to predict and therapies challenging to develop.
Currently there is only one single medicine for specifically treating ALS. This drug will only endure survival for an extra two or three months.
As the disease spreads many muscles start to weaken and stiffen. Range of motion exercises will likely be recommended to keep muscles loose and prevent the formation of contractures and muscle pain. People with ALS tend to tire easily. the breathing may be affected. A pacer may be suggested to help a person with ALS sleep at night. A feeding tube may be suggested to help a person with ALS eat. Medications may also be recommended to ease muscle pain and control emotions.
Late stages of ALS
As the disease progresses muscles become paralyzed . Most people require a wheelchair to get around and may communicate through assistive devices using an eye tracking device or a letter board. Most people are cared for in hospices or at home. Some people with ALS choose invasive ventilation to help keep them breathing. Most people with ALS loose the battle due to respiratory failure .