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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Symptoms

Last Updated on May 07, 2018
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Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

In three-fourth of those with ALS, the limb is first affected. In some, the hand maybe affected first. During this time simple activities such as walking, climbing stairs or buttoning one’s shirt becomes laborious. Occasionally, when only a single limb is affected the condition is known as monomelic amyotrohy. The onset of the disease is so subtle that the patient is not aware of its arrival. It is only after the atrophy becomes evident that ALS is suspected.

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Initial symptoms include:

  • Weakness, particularly in the leg parts
  • Weakness / clumsiness in hands
  • Muscle twitching /cramping in shoulders, arms and/or tongue
  • Stiffness of affected muscles (spasticity)
  • Foot drop- difficulty in raising the front part of foot and toe
  • Slurred, nasal speech
  • Muscle atrophy (this is the typical sign of ALS)
  • Exaggerated reflexes

In 25% of ALS patients, speech is affected first (dysarthria). It may become slurred, nasal, garbled and may be accompanied by a loss of volume. Very often tongue mobility is impaired and there is difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).

Some patients experience uncontrollable laughing or crying (emotions) due to the degeneration of bulbar upper motor neurons.

Complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Whichever part of the body is affected, the weakness and atrophy gradually spreads from the place of origin to other body parts. The patient gradually looses the ability to stand, walk or move around and becomes increasingly paralyzed and bed-bound.

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Dietary - Chewing and swallowing becomes difficult for these patients. They tend to aspirate food particles into their lungs which can even lead to pneumonia. This can be avoided by using a food pipe. Due to poor nutrition it can be extremely difficult for the patients to maintain normal standards of weight.

Respiratory – ALS patients become increasingly dependant on ventilators for breathing and several of them die from respiratory complications or pneumonia. Towards the later stages the patient may opt for a tracheostomy and may get the help of a full time ventilator to assist breathing.

Neurological- ALS affected individuals are more prone to develop fronto- temporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Perhaps what lends pathos to the disease is the fact that most of the patients remain intelligent and are, therefore, aware of their physical deterioration. This could be very upsetting for these individuals who often suffer from clinical depression.

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Comments

mnarciastewart

With my amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], the first thing that happened almost 2 years ago now, was speaking as if I were drunk. I wasn't. I initially did improve speech (articulating clearly but slow) but now I can no longer speak in an acceptable way. Then, a year later eating became problematic, I was biting my tongue and lips, and chewing became weak and less controlled. Soon after that some fingers started to fail me and things would drop out of my hands. Somewhere at that time bulbar ALS was diagnosed. The Rilutek (riluzole) did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating.. We tried every shot available but nothing was working. There has been little if any progress in finding a reliable treatment, Our care provider introduced us to Kycuyu Health Clinic ALS/MND herbal treatment. The treatment is a miracle.i recovered significantly! Visit www. kycuyuhealthclinic. com

glen66t

My ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] Symptoms started out with a "foot drop" on my left foot. From there my left leg lost all muscle tone and the entire left leg muscles are gone. Also my fingers and thumbs "contract" at times. Left arm loses muscle tone too. My family doctor said there is no cure for ALS, I was just living unhappy life till I saw a blog talking about Best Health Herbal Centre. So many people said positive things about their herbal product which I don’t believe at first. I showed my daughter what I saw online about their product and my daughter decided we shall give it a try. Few days later she purchased two bottle of ALS herbal remedy which they said I will use for only six weeks. My life changed automatically after six weeks of applying the herbal remedy as instructed. All my symptoms was terminated completely and am now living ALS FREE .. All Thanks to Best Health Herbal Centre for their good work in people’s life. For more details about their herbal product visit their Homepage w ww .besthealthherbalcentre. co m

Andrea59

Are there any new treatments for Als?

hopeforjoy

My dearest friend, Joy Styles, died from ALS on July 1st 2011. She was only 52. She was running half marathons and was very active when she noticed an atrophy in her left and and a weakness in her right leg. I have created a website in her name http://www.hopeforjoy.ca that is about her and has useful information about the disease. I wish I could do more, but every little bit helps. God bless everyone who has had experience with this terrible disease.

Doctor_Lilly

My symptoms started off with extreme muscle spasms and cramps. It would get worse when I was on my monthly. I was walking and running at the time to lose some weight that I thought was causing the muscle aches, headaches, and the pain that I was feeling in my whole body. One day it got overwhelming. It was August 17th, 2007. I felt like I was getting the life squeezed out of me and my mind was racing the whole time while experiencing difficulty speaking, walking, and trying to control the jerky movements. I was admitted as a psychiatric patient at that time, now it's been two years later and I feel like I am disseminating. I had another attack recently and that is what scared me enough to go to the neurologist. I am still afraid. I want to see it, and I'm interested in the damage that my body has endured. Can't wait to start treatment. Findyourdrug.com

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