A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical

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A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.
Very rare
Fewer than 20,000 US cases per year
Treatment can help, but this condition can't be cured
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
In this disease, nerve cells breakdown, which reduces functionality in the muscles they supply. The cause is unknown.
The main symptom is muscle weakness.
Medication and therapy can slow ALS and reduce discomfort, but there's no cure.
Ages affected
0-2 3-5 6-13 14-18 19-40 41-60 60+
People may experience:
Muscular: muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles,
loss of muscle, muscle spasms, or overactive reflexes
Speech: difficulty speaking, vocal cord spasm, or impaired voice
Whole body fatigue or feeling faint
Also common difficulty swallowing, drooling, lack of restraint, mild cognitive impairment, severe constipation, severe unintentional weight loss, shortness of breath, or difficulty raising the foot
Lou Gehrig's disease
Also called ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Requires a medical diagnosis
The main symptom is muscle weakness.
September 11, Page 1 of 2

Physical therapy Restores muscle strength and function through exercise.
Supportive care
Mouth-To-Mouth resuscitation Assisting with breathing using a machine or device.
Palliative care Works to improve quality of life while adjusting or recovering from a serious illness.
Glutamate blocker Inhibits the action of the neurotransmitter glutamate.
Riluzole (Rilutek)
Muscle relaxant Reduces muscle tension and helps relieve muscle pain and discomfort.
Baclofen (Gablofen and Lioresal)
Tizanidine (Zanaflex and Comfort Pac-tizanidine)
Gastrostomy: Surgical insertion of a tube through the abdomen and into the stomach. Used for feeding or drainage.
Medical procedure
Tracheotomy: Surgically creating a hole in the neck that leads into the windpipe
(trachea). Often used to insert a breathing tube.
Neurologist: Treats nervous system disorders.
Primary care provider (PCP Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases.
Speech therapist Specializes invoice rehabilitation.
Palliative medicine Focuses on improving quality of life for those with severe illnesses.
Occupational therapist Improves daily living and work skills of patients.
Pulmonologist: Treats respiratory tract diseases.
Respiratory therapist Treats and provides emergency care for patients who have trouble breathing.
Consult a doctor for medical advice
Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information isn't medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or a emergency number immediately.
Sources: Mayo Clinic and others. Learn more
Treatment depends onstage bMedication and therapy can slow ALS and reduce discomfort, but there's no cure.
September 11, Page 2 of 2

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