Initially the general physician who first sees the patient may suspect ALS and refer the patient to a neurologist who then diagnoses the disease and treats the patient. Overall management and supportive care will be provided by a team of health care providers.
2. At the initial stage of the disease, what should the patients find out from their doctors?
Doctors should explain to the patient about the disease, the course it would take and also make the patient understand the various treatment options available to the patient so that he can make informed decisions.
3. How should the patient cope with ALS?
Being diagnosed with ALS can be devastating to the patient and family members. Obviously there will be a grieving period where everyone concerned will try to come to terms with the situation. It is always essential to maintain a positive attitude as this will prolong survival and improve the quality of life. Many with ALS remain intellectually active and this is another rewarding facet.
Making medical, financial or personal decisions well in advance will ease tension to a large extent.
Joining a support group for ALS can be comforting as the patient and family members will get to interact with people in similar situations.
With the right approach towards the disease and with good management and support, individuals with ALS can live better quality lives.