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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Overview

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)is also called Lou Gehrig's disease, in this disease motor neurons are weakened and destroyed, this cause muscle weakness and feel difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Patients become paralyzed and often require ventilation and surgery for providing new opening in stomach, disease also cause respiratory problems which is the ultimate cause of death.


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Causes

Lou Gehrig's Disease is caused due to genetic defect. In this disease nerve cells usually die, and not able to send messages to muscles. This leads to muscle weakening and an inability to move the arms, legs, and body like this condition becomes worse. Slowly muscles of the chest area stop working and cause breathing problem. Men develop this disease more frequently than women.


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Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms usually not develop until age 50. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of muscle strength and coordination that later becomes worse.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness of muscle that slowly gets worse
  • Paralysis
  • Speech problems, like slow or abnormal speech pattern

Additional symptoms:

  • Muscle contractions
  • Ankle, feet, and leg swelling
  • Weight loss
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Prevention

Genetic counseling is the best option to prevent this disease.


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Treatments
Drug Therapy Modern Medicine

The first drug treatment for the disease is riluzole . Riluzole can prolong life, but cant stop the disease from getting worse. Baclofen, Trihexyphenidyl or amitriptyline prescribed to those who face problem in swallowing their own saliva. Physical therapy, rehabilitation and a wheelchair are required to maximize muscle function. Patients required a tube to place into their stomach for feeding.

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