ALS Disorder (Lou Gehrig's):
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Symptoms usually do not develop until after age 50, but they can start in younger people. Persons with ALS have a loss of muscle strength and coordination that eventually gets worse and makes it impossible to do routine tasks such as going up steps, getting out of a chair, or swallowing.
Breathing or swallowing muscles may be the first muscles affected. As the disease gets worse, more muscle groups develop problems.
ALS does not affect the senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch). It only rarely affects bladder or bowel function, eye movement or a person's ability to think or reason.
- Difficulty Breathing
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Choking Easily
- Head Drop Due To Weakness Of the neck muscles
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle Contractions called fasciculations
- Muscle weakness that slowly gets worse; commonly involves one part of the body first, such as the arm or hand
- Eventually leads to difficulty lifting, climbing stairs, and walking
- Speech problems, such as a slow or abnormal speech pattern (slurring of words)
- Voice changes, hoarseness
- Weight loss
The doctor or nurse will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. The physical exam may show: weakness, often beginning in one area
- Muscle Tremors
- Twitching, or loss of muscle tissue
- Twitching of the tongue (common)
- Abnormal Reflexes
- Stiff or clumsy walk
- Increased reflexes at the joints
- Difficulty controlling crying or laughing (sometimes called emotional incontinence)
- Loss Of Gag Reflex
- Tests that may be done include: blood tests to rule out other conditions
- Breathing Test to see if lung muscles are affected
- Cervical Spine CT or MRI to be sure there is no disease or injury to the neck, which can mimic ALS Electromyography to see which nerves or muscles do not work properly
- Genetic Testing
- If there is a family history of ALS Head CT or MRI to rule out other conditions
- Swallowing Studies
- Spinal Tap (lumbar puncture)
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ALS Information: 11/29/2012 - Deanna Protocol A Cure For Lou Gehrig's Disease?