Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS):
Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) is a nervous disease that weakens the muscles and impacts the entire body’s physical functioning. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is considered a very rare condition with less than 20,000 cases being diagnosed in the US each year. Lou Gehrig’s cannot be cured, but treatment may slow progress of symptoms. Lou Gehrig’s does require a medical diagnosis and lab testing or imaging is also required to confirm the diagnosis. Lou Gehrig’s is a chronic condition that lasts for the rest of someone’s life.
Lou Gehrig’s is generally quite rapid in nature, and decline in a person’s physical ability will happen rather quickly. Every case of Lou Gehrig’s is different, but it is generally progressive enough to be invariably fatal. The fatality comes from the death of a massive neurological disease that causes mass kill offs of nerve cells and neurons. These are the muscles that are responsible for voluntary muscle movement that is performed consciously. The cause of the breakdowns in this muscle tissue is not known.
The main symptom of Lou Gehrig’s disease is muscle weakness. Additional symptoms include stiffness and a lack of coordination are often also present. Medications and therapies can help slow the symptoms and help lessen the discomfort of Lou Gehrig’s. Researchers are currently looking for a cure for Lou Gehrig’s as a cure is not presently known. Lou Gehrig’s disease can affect people as young as 19 years of age, but is usually diagnosed in people between the ages 40-50 years of age, and before age 60. Some people do not get diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease till after age 60. This makes Lou Gehrig’s a disease that can strike at virtually any point in someone’s life, which makes it even more unpredictable.
The later phases of Lou Gehrig’s disease present themselves with additional, more severe symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, drooling, mild cognitive impairment, severe constipation, unintentional weight loss, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are due to the muscles in the body failing to work properly. Devices like tracheotomies (breathing tubes) and gastrostomies (feeding tubes) are often needed to help perform even the most basic bodily functions vital to survival in the later stages of the disease.
Lou Gehrig’s is treated by a team of specialists that include a neurologist, personal care professional (PCP), and team of therapists to assist in providing the highest quality of life to the patient for as long as is possible. Additionally, many patients will seek additional therapies. Such therapies include speech, occupational, and physical therapies can help the person to retain many of their bodily functions and as much independence as possible as Lou Gehrig’s progresses. Until a definitive cure is found focusing on quality of life and preservation of the patient’s bodily functions is the best treatment or management plan that is available.