Early ALS symptoms stories differ from one patient to another. Each patient has their version of how they are diagnosed with ALS, how they live with ALS symptoms, and how it affects the people surrounding them. The symptoms of ALS may include difficulties in speech, swallowing, and salivation that can cause mouth problems. Given this point, people living with ALS can prevent these dental issues by maintaining good oral health. Every individual has to practice proper dental hygiene, with or without ALS.
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
This health condition is a rare and progressive neurological disease affecting the motor neuron system. The other name they use for ALS is Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS directly attacks the nerve cells (neurons) in the patient’s brain and spinal cord.
The neurons are responsible for voluntary muscle movement control. A few of the examples of these voluntary movements are chewing, talking, or walking. Patients with ALS do not experience the same symptoms. Additionally, the level of progression also differs.
Whichever condition it could be, it is unfortunate that there is no cure for ALS. However, there are treatments available to slow down its progression. ALS diagnosis is pretty challenging. It can happen when a person is in their late 50s or early 60s. But this age doesn’t guarantee that ALS will not occur in other age brackets.
Early Symptoms of ALS
The earlier signs that can show if patients have ALS are barely noticeable. But, the weakness associated with it will become more visible as time passes by. Here are a few of what ALS patients can experience.
- difficulty in performing daily activities
- increased clumsiness
- cramping and twitching
- difficulty in maintaining good posture
- difficulty to hold the head up
- emotional lability
- cognitive changes
- slurred speech
- saliva and mucus issues
- breathing and swallowing difficulties (usually in later stages)
The signs of ALS can spread to all parts of the body as the condition progresses. At the later stage of this health condition, it can also affect decision-making and memory. Even their oral health will be at stake. So, a dental provider (visit GordonFamilyDental.com.au today) is essential to assist with their oral needs.
Stories of People Diagnosed with ALS
Years ago, a person was living life at its finest. Then, here come the signs of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ALS diagnosis is one of the most devastating news an individual could ever receive. Fortunately, some groups extend help to families facing this challenge.
The ALS story of each family, with a member living with ALS, shows how challenging it is to fight this health condition. Family and friends of the patient require support to fulfill their needs. It is a good thing that they can ask for help from an ALS community.
From that, the family members will know what to do as they battle for this challenging situation. Many of us will fear this, as the disease requires extensive efforts from our loved ones. But life is full of hope, despite all the challenging situations we get ourselves into.
Living with ALS
ALS stories of a whole family consist of the long journey they go through. Finding a cure for the disease is a part of that journey. But unfortunately, there is none. Only treatments are existing. The ages of developing this disease fall between 40 and 70, averaging 55 years old starting from when diagnosed.
Meanwhile, there are also rare occurrences of this disease diagnosed in people around their 20s and 30s. In some cases, approximately 50% of these people can live at least three years after the diagnosis. Then, 25% live five years or more, and 10% are lucky enough to live more than ten years.
Generally speaking, some people may pass away young, leaving a husband, wife, or children behind. The story of being left behind is a story that is heartbreaking to anyone.
Tips to Consider When Living with ALS
The members of the family should be ready to face a lot of changes in their everyday life. Here are some tips to consider to at least have a smooth flow addressing this disease.
- Maintain open communication. It would be best to keep social contact intact. Staying in touch with friends and staying active would help. Several support groups, local and online, can offer insights. They might even share their own story as well.
- Practicality is necessary for this condition. There will be a need to prepare bags of tissues, wipes, or even easy-to-hold cutlery when going out. You might also need to adjust some things inside your home.
- Planning is essential. The disease can progress, and it will later make the patients incapable of doing what they can before. For this reason, it would be best to prepare and plan for it beforehand.
- Seek financial help. The situation can progress, and you will be looking forward to the treatment becoming financially demanding. In this case, research about where you can get financial help for the expenses.
- Make arrangements for caregivers. A friend, a relative, or a professional caregiver needs to take care of their health as well. ALS patients need to spend some time outside to feel still connected to the community.
Proper awareness is indeed necessary to secure the needs when addressing this condition. For this reason, it would help to ask doctors, groups or conduct ALS research to get sufficient information about it.
Therapy for ALS
A typical treatment option available for this condition is therapy. Managing this situation is indeed a challenge to every household experiencing it. Here are some of these therapies that will become necessary.
1 Physical Therapy
ALS could become painful over time. In this case, physical therapy can help relieve that and address mobility issues. It can include exercises, mobility aids, or devices to make life easier.
2 Occupational Therapy
The purpose of this therapy is to maintain the patient’s independence.
3 Breathing Therapy
There will come a time this therapy will be need. The respiratory muscles will weaken sooner or later.
4 Speech Therapy
This therapy will help address the patient’s difficulty in talking. Adaptive techniques and other methods are already available for this therapy.
5 Nutritional Support
It is best to secure the nutrients to maintain the patient’s strength. Swallowing will also become difficult for them. In this case, suction devices and feeding tubes may help.
Overall, the story of people with ALS is challenging and overwhelming. The support they need is beyond what you can imagine.
All about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), James McIntosh, Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, M.D., December 14, 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281472
ALS, Hss.edu, Accessed August 10, 2021, https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis.asp