Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare neurological disorder that affects voluntary muscle movements. In fact, the symptom of the disease gets worse after some time. So, how can a person develop this condition? Is Lou Gehrig’s disease hereditary? If you or your loved one suffers from this condition, all you can do is support and help lessen the symptoms they may experience. They may encounter some mouth issues, that getting proper treatment performed by a dental practitioner may help address the concern. Keep reading to know more about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including the risk factors, complications, and treatments.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
This is a progressive disorder of the nervous system. ALS influences neurons in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in muscle function loss. Though it can be hereditary, sometimes, specialists do not know why ALS cases happen.
Moreover, Lou Gehrig’s disease often starts with slurred speech or muscle twitching and weakness in a limb. This disease affects the muscles responsible for moving, eating, speaking, and breathing.
Signs and symptoms of ALS shift incredibly from one individual to another, depending on which neurons are affected. These may include:
- Tripping and falling
- Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
- Trouble walking or doing usual daily activities
- Weakness in your hand, leg, feet, or ankles
- Inappropriate crying, laughing, or yawning
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your shoulders, arms, and tongue
- Cognitive changes
- Behavioral changes
ALS symptoms usually begin in the hands, feet, or limbs. Then advances to different areas of your body. As it progresses and destroys your nerve cells, your muscles get weaker. Eventually, this progression will affect speaking, chewing, swallowing, and breathing ability.
Managing the symptoms might be challenging for individuals with ALS, their families, caregivers, and the medical team. However, there are several community resources accessible for help and assistance.
ALS affects nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements like talking and walking. It makes the motor neurons slowly deteriorate and then die. Once the disease damages motor neurons, they stop sending information to the muscles, preventing them from functioning. In any case, genetic and environmental factors are the known common causes of ALS.
Established Risk Factors
Heredity: Your doctor will get your family history to properly diagnose this condition and check if there is an identified genetic mutation related to ALS. If one of your relatives or family members had this disease, there is a greater possibility that you can acquire the condition.
Genetics: Like other diseases, genetic factors play an essential role. In fact, gene mutations are considered in the progression of the disease. Some studies discovered numerous similarities in the genetic variations of individuals with familial ALS and some patients with noninherited or sporadic ALS. These genetic variations may cause individuals to become more susceptible to ALS.
Sex: Men under the age of 65 are more prone to develop ALS compared to women. However, this sex difference vanishes after age 70.
Age: Developing ALS risk expands with age and is generally common between 40 and the mid-60s.
Smoking: It is the leading environmental danger factor for ALS. In fact, women develop ALS more because of this risk, especially after menopause.
Environmental toxins: ALS research recommends exposure to lead or other substances in the workplace or at home may be connected to ALS. Much review has been done, yet no single chemical has been reliably linked with ALS.
Military service: Studies suggest that individuals who have served in the military are more in danger of ALS. It is not clear what may trigger the development of ALS in military services. However, it may be because of exposure to chemicals or metals, viral infections, traumatic injuries, and intense exertion.
As ALS progresses, it causes complications, such as:
Over the long run, ALS incapacitates the muscles you use to breathe. You may need a machine to help you breathe at night, like what somebody with sleep apnea may use. You can go to this link https://leichhardtmarketdental.com.au/ to avail of this device to help with your breathing at night.
Furthermore, some individuals with advanced conditions choose to have a tracheostomy. This is a surgical treatment that creates an opening to the front of the neck so you can insert a tube to help you breathe.
Individuals with ALS can foster malnutrition and dehydration from harm to the muscles that control swallowing. They are additionally at a greater danger of getting food, fluids, or saliva into the lungs, which can cause pneumonia. A feeding tube can decrease these risks and guarantee proper nutrition and hydration.
The vast majority with ALS foster difficulty talking. This typically begins as infrequent, gentle slurring of words yet turns out to be more serious. Eventually, speech becomes hard for others to understand, and people with ALS frequently depend on other communication technologies to communicate.
Some individuals with ALS have issues with memory and decision-making. Some are at last diagnosed with a type of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia.
Though there is no cure for ALS, some medications can help slow disease progression and prolong life. Other treatments that help control symptoms include:
Feeding Tube: Since choking is common as ALS advances, patients may require a feeding tube to be put into the stomach for feeding. This is called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG).
Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation, therapy, use of apparatuses such as a wheelchair or braces, and other treatments may help muscles work and improve your overall wellbeing.
ALS patients, bit by bit, lose the capacity to function and care for themselves. They might survive from two to 10 years after the disease occurs, with around 20% of ALS patients living over five years after diagnosis.
ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy: Indications, technique, complications and management.