Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Symptoms, causes and treatment
- Posted on- Aug 28, 2015
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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disease, which is categorized under a group of disorders called motor neuron diseases. This disorder is also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after Lou Gehrig, a popular baseball player who died of this disease in 1941. It is a progressive neurodegenerative fatal disease, which affects neurons in the brain and spinal cord. It can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, eventually leading to paralysis and death. This disease more commonly affects men than women. People between the age of 40 and 60 years are at a higher risk of developing this disorder.
Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
One of the early symptoms of the Lou Gehrig’s disease is disordered articulation so if you know someone who is struggling to speak and form certain words all of a sudden, you should consider the possibility of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Check with a general physician right away. It’s the responsibility of those medical professionals to confirm whether that individual is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or something else. Another symptom that you should watch out for is if the person involved has trouble walking or running and experiences weakness in his/her muscles. That could be Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis working its way through. Other motor neuron degeneration symptoms include shortness of breath, weakened reflexes and muscle cramps.
Causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Several studies have been conducted and are being conducted until now to determine the causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. There have been theories presented though. Others believe that the Lou Gehrig’s disease is a genetic disorder. Studies also show that another probable cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the mutations in the gene that produces the SOD1 enzyme. Another possibility in terms of ALS causes that researchers are looking into is the increased levels of glutamate. This glutamate happens to be a chemical responsible for that makes the transmission of messages between the neurons. This is because patients suffering from the Lou Gehrig’s disease were found to have elevated levels of glutamate. This isn’t the case with normal people who don’t have the said ailment. There are those who think that the body’s autoimmune responses have something to do with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as well.
Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Sad to say, no cure or immediate prevention has been discovered yet for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which makes it one of the fatal diseases ever to hit humanity. There may be medications being offered to relieve the symptoms including muscle stiffness, cramping, eating difficulties and others but that’s just it. Some patients are being given physical therapy and special equipments like the ventilator.