Top 5 ALS Treatment Guidelines

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rare neurological disease which damage  motor neurons. If we look into patient’s count who are diagnosed with ALS, stats shows that about 1 person from 25,000 people, will be diagnosed with ALS.

Most of them could possibly died within 2 to 5 years because of respiratory failure. But there are some 10% lucky people who could survive longer than a decade or more instead of having ALS.

Mostly known that that is NO CURE of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) but doctors possible do have some ALS Treatment Guidelines or therapies which can slow down the progression of this ALS disease.

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

This disease was first came into light on the death of “The Iron Horse” Henry Louis Gehrig in 1941. That’s why it’s also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

ALS basically attacks on motor neurone which are being found in brain and spinal cord, which basically controls the voluntary movement of muscles. These voluntary muscles controls like walking, talking and chewing.

When your motor neuron are being affected by ALS then these neuron get created but die without passing signals to muscles due to which these voluntary muscles start getting weaken, getting twitched and then waste away. What happened at the end, brain loses it’s control on the voluntary movements.

Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Like other diseases, it’s hard to diagnose Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on early stages. There are some assumed early and then progressive symptoms by which can get and idea of patient’s situation

ALS Treatment Guidelines: ALS-Symptoms
Image: Active Home Health

Early Symptoms of ALS

  • Muscles gentle fluttering may be felt in arm, leg, shoulder or tongue
  • Feeling pain in muscles
  • Slightly rigid and tight muscles
  • Feeling weakness in muscles of arms, legs or neck
  • Speech is not very clear
  • Feel difficulty in chewing and swallowing

Progressive Symptoms of ALS

When days are passing by having ALS, weakness and waste of neuron(atrophy) spread in other parts of body and you may suffer with following:

  • When ALS attacks on other parts then patient can not stand, walk or get in or out of bed by his/her own
  • Food chewing and swallowing become problems
  • Hard to talk or speak proper words
  • Breathing become serious problem. Patient needs to put on ventilator as it can not breath by it’s own
  • Anxiety and depression also come to the way because people will ALS are aware of their disease and they can remember and understand that’s why

Who is more likely be affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

There are three main factors which play important role to be affected with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

  • Age : There is no hard define rule about Age factor but mostly seen that ALS commonly developed between ages of 55 and 75
  • Gender: Instead of females, males are mostly affected with ALS.
  • Race and Ethnicity: ALS does not  care about race and ethnicity but mostly Caucasians and non-Hispanics developed it.

Some studies have shown that military veterans significantly develop ALS although no reasons have been found but possibly due to exposure to lead, environmental toxins and may be pesticides.

How ALS is being diagnosed

As it is hard to diagnose on early stages of ALS but some test like other diseases could be conducted after your neurologic examination.

  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 
  • Blood and Urine Tests 
  • Muscle Biopsy
  • Nerve Biopsy

Treatment Guidelines of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Unfortunately there is no perfect treatment to reverse the damage of ALS or No Known Cure but we can slow down it’s progression with ALS Treatment Guidelines and can make life easier living with it.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has approved following medication for ALS treatment.

  • Riluzole (Rilutek, Tiglutik): is an oral medication which suppose to reduce the damage to motor neuron by lowering the level of glutamate. It can cause side effects like dizziness, gastrointestinal conditions and liver problems. 
  • Edaravone (Radicava): It can be given through vein in arm or in form of liquid by mouth. It can slower down the decline effect in daily functioning. There could be trouble in walking and headache as its side effects. 
  • Sodium phenylbutyrate-taurursodiol (Relyvrio): it is approved in 2022 by FDA. It can reduce the functional decline by 25% in people suffering with ALS. It can possibly increase life span six months. Belly pain, diarrhea and nausea are included in it’s side effects.

Here are some other therapies which can help you as well.

ALS Treatment Guidelines: ALS-Symptoms
Image: UniSR

ALS Treatment Guidelines: Change in LifeStyle

There could be major role of nutritions in your daily meal plan. They can suggest you such food which could provide you enough calories, fiber and fluid in take. They can avoid such foods which are hard to swallow.

ALS Treatment Guidelines: Rehabilitation

There would be rehabilitation plan and it varies patient to patient. This plan plays very important role to make things easier for ALS patients.

ALS Treatment Guidelines: Physical Therapy

Physical therapist suggest such low-impact exercises like walking, swimming and some stationary exercises which could help to strengthen your muscles. In occupational therapy, ALS patient can use wheel chair, walker to preserve it’s energy and remain mobile.

ALS Treatment Guidelines: Communication Support

When things are moving towards more tens situation and patient feeling issue in talking and speech the therapist can suggest how to communicate and speak loudly. There are some medical equipments available which could help in such situations.

ALS Treatment Guidelines: Breathing Support

Muscles are responsible for breathing process but when they getting weak then you possibly have issue in breathing while doing any physical activity. In that case Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) supports you which is delivered through mask on nose.

Conclusion

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a disease which has no proper CURE yet. Research departments are working on it and trying to investigate it’s causes. So that proper treatment could launch against it. But if any one’s loved one is suffering with such disease then by following ALS Treatment Guidelines, it’s progression can be slow down.

FAQ’s


What are known symptoms of ALS?

These are the most common symptoms of ALS like Twitching and pain in muscles especially in hands and feet. Hands and arms muscles loss control. Muscles got rigid and tight.


What is the main cause of ALS?

Studies shows that mutation in more than dozen genes have been found to develop familial ALS. About 25-40% of all familia cases, it’s been found defect in the C9ORF72 gene. This gene make protein which found in motor neuron and nerve cells in the brain.


Can ALS be cured?

According to studies till date, there is no cure which could reverse or even stop ALS. Every ALS patient has different experience. As time goes, ALS defect more and more nerve cells.


Who is more likely affected by ALS?

About 60% ALS patients are male. There is no race or ethnicity in ALS but 93% are white people. There is no age limit as well. It could be in any age but most commonly it developed in 55 to 75 age period.


Can I test ALS at home?

There is no such a way to test ALS at home. Your doctor will examine you through different types of tests like EMG, MRI, NCS and some others. Also some muscles reflexing tests and biopsies.


How can you avoid ALS?

The only answer is regular exercise. By doing regular exercise and combined it with health diet which has properly antioxidants can reduce the risk of ALS.

Leave a comment