Your altered taste buds can be due to several causes. But metallic taste in mouth ALS is a different case. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a developing nervous system disorder that attacks the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain. Apart from having a metallic taste, one of its significant symptoms includes poor motor skills as well. The team at Evergreen Dental suggests seeking professional health right away once you notice serious changes in your health.
Understanding Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
In medical terms, ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jean-Martin Charcot named it after an athlete initially diagnosed with the disease in 1869. It has become more well known in the medical industry in 1939.
How does it progress? ALS starts degenerating the upper motor neuron in the brain and lowers motor neurons in the spinal cord. When this happens, the muscles will begin to shrink as the neurons cannot send impulses anymore. This leads to muscle weakness and physical disability.
However, the good news is that it does not affect a person’s intelligence, reasoning, sense of hearing, smell, touch, and vision. It does promote a metallic taste in the mouth that might make the patient think there is a dental issue, but that can be managed. Moreover, it also doesn’t affect an individual’s sexual, bladder, and bowel functions.
Whether it’s a disorder or a syndrome is still uncertain. Doctors usually refer to it as a syndrome because it occurs in unusual patterns and could occur impulsively.
Patients with ALS often show the following symptoms before diagnosis:
- muscle cramps, specifically the muscles in feet and hands
- motor loss control in arms and hands
- tripping and falling
- difficulty swallowing and impaired speech
- mild to severe changes in behavior
- uncontrolled crying, laughing and yawning
- dropping objects
- overall weakness and fatigue
Once the disease gets to the worse stage, the patient might exhibit additional symptoms, including:
Shortness of breath
Eventually, it will affect the muscles you use for breathing. As a result, you might end up having difficulty breathing. This can be managed by using a device that people with sleep apnea use to breathe comfortably at night. If the case is too severe and that device cannot help you, you may opt to undergo a surgical operation.
The longer the disease stays undetected, the more it will show signs of trouble speaking. It will start occasionally and probably won’t bother you at first. But it will progress into slurred speaking until it becomes severe. You might even need to rely on communication apps in the long run.
One of the many dilemmas of patients is staying healthy. Their appetite gets highly affected as their taste buds are also affected. Most patients experience a metallic taste in the mouth ALS that affects the actual taste of their favorite meals. In addition to this, they also end up having trouble swallowing foods. This is the common reason why dehydration and malnutrition are evident in ALS-related issues.
It’s important to note the symptoms of ALS are quite similar to other disorders. If your family has a history of ALS or other neurological diseases, it’s best to consult a professional for proper diagnosis.
For some people, the cause of ALS is related to their genetics. But many people get it without any probable cause, making the root cause of ALS still unclear up to this writing.
From a physiological perspective, ALS develops by affecting the nerve cells responsible for voluntary muscle movements such as talking and walking. It slowly eliminates the motor neurons unit they are no longer functional. When they finally got damaged, the body will begin to be weak, and the motor skills will be dysfunctional in general.
Researchers are still on the hunt for its apparent cause.
While the root cause is still to be determined, there are risk factors that are associated with the development of ALS, such as:
- Genetics. About 5 to 10% of people with ALS have inherited it from their families. A person diagnosed with ALS will have a 50/50 chance of passing it on to his children.
- Age. Although it can occur at any age in life, it is usually seen in patients between 40 to 60 years old.
- Gender. Studies show that men develop the syndrome earlier than women.
- Environment. Research shows that being exposed to lead or harmful substances in the workplace are related to ALS development.
- Smoking. While other environmental factors still need further studies, smoking has shown significant effects on ALS development, especially in women.
Sad to say, there still no cure for ALS. There is no available treatment to stop its progression and reverse its effects on an individual. Although physical therapy might be recommended, there is no certain way to allow a person to go back to their normal life. Therapy only helps manage the pain, but the other symptoms will continue to worsen over time.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354022)