What Is the Prognosis for ALS?

May 2nd, 2007 by | Category: Diseases and Conditions

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the USA after the famous baseball player; as Motor Neurone Disease in Australia and Britain; and Maladie de Charcot in France. It is a progressive neuromuscular disease that affects and weakens motor neurons. These neurons are parts of the nervous system that link the brain to the skeletal muscles. ALS sooner or later destroys these neurons as certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement like walking steadily deteriorate. With this the muscles controlled by these nerves weaken and atrophy, finally leading to paralysis.

ALS generally attacks men more than women and in middle age, and there is no barrier of race; sometimes, younger people are also affected. The symptoms can vary from loss of motor control in the limbs, tripping and falling without reason, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, continuous fatigue, shallow or difficult breathing and swallowing, and severe twitches and cramps. Patients with ALS will still have sphincter control, sensory ability, and their intellectual function. However, they may eventually be put on a respirator if their breathing is affected. There may be alterations in personality and behavior; and sometimes a few patients will suffer changes to cognition.

Researchers have discovered risk factors that include inherited genetic defects and linked ALS to Chromosome 21. Later, a gene called SOD1 was determined as being connected to some inherited instances in families. However, not all cases of inherited ALS could be ascribed to this gene and sometimes patients with ALS are the only ones in their family with this disease, so it has been assumed that other genetic causes must exist. Some studies suggest that the immune system may be involved in the development of this disease. Motor neurons can be overstimulated by extreme levels of glutamate, causing neuron death. Doctors diagnose ALS after eliminating other diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

No cure has yet been found for ALS. Generally treatments are tailored to ease the pain of symptoms and provide a better quality of life for the patients. Medications, special equipment, and physical and speech therapy provide relief and mobility as well as providing a means of communication.

ALS is a progressive and incurable disease. The life expectancy of people with ALS is mostly three to five years after diagnosis, while some patients can live up to 10 years. Hospice care can be explored as an option for patients with ALS so that they are provided treatment with reassurance and dignity while still being able to be surrounded by their loved ones.

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Comment by lucy
2008-05-07 07:47:37

u are all retarded

Comment by starlynn
2010-09-15 21:21:01

PFFT…Please u dont know what retarded is!!!

Comment by Advocate
2011-07-14 20:51:22

So sad. This is a very serious disease and quite devastating to those people around someone with ALS. One day you will feel so ashamed of yourself for being so immature when someone close to you ends up hearing they are deathly ill. Who knows? It could be you.

Comment by Linde
2012-06-29 07:47:09

Thank you for the most current informationas I have. ALS and need the latest onformation available

Comment by Josh
2009-08-26 09:49:29

Yeah, what she said!
I concur!

Comment by wengwrg
2010-11-08 12:56:50

als is hawt

Comment by wengwrg
2010-11-08 12:58:11

i lve myself because im sexy in all ways possible…om nom nom smexi pubes

Comment by Advocate
2011-07-14 20:54:35

Check with your parent or guardian before getting online. In your case, ask them to guide you in the right direction.

Comment by Peg1957
2011-09-17 17:38:50

I have lived with ALS for the last year. This disease is not for wimps..it takes courage and the will to live. My ALS is on my left side of my body from shoulder to foot. My speech is altered not as clear or as fast as it once was. I do most tasks with great difficulty but I keep going. I have accepted my fate and will fight till there is no fight left. To all patients with ALS Blessings to you. To caretakers God is with you as you help your loved one..Life is Good. God will never give you a heavier cross than you can bear I only wish God didn’t trust me so much!

Comment by rachel
2011-09-19 07:33:33

My husband was diagnosed with ALS 3 years ago. Everything is getting harder for him everyday. He just keeps on going though, just like you said. I will pray for you! It is an awful disease! We dont understand why this has happened to us either, but we do know that God is in control!

Comment by Phil
2012-05-16 07:05:05

Blessings to all of you impacted by this terrible disease.

Comment by Fred Gill
2011-11-08 13:16:54

Rife and BVT works pretty well!

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