Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative condition that can cause a broad range of symptoms. ALS attacks brain cells that are responsible for controlling the majority of muscle movements. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS progresses over time and continues to cause new and worsening symptoms.
While there is no cure for ALS, there are several ways patients can mitigate their symptoms and maintain a higher quality of life. Below, we outline the various signs of ALS and discuss potential interventions that patients can utilize to combat their symptoms.
Oftentimes, the signs and symptoms of ALS begin to manifest gradually. Many patients report experiencing tingling or weakness in their hands. This weakness can make it challenging for them to grip objects, maintain a grasp on their steering wheel, or perform other routine tasks.
Other patients begin to experience slurred speech before additional symptoms develop. Since ALS attacks the brain cells responsible for controlling various muscle groups, every patient will experience different symptoms early on.
Some other common signs of ALS include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Worsening posture
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Stumbling or trouble walking
These symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for other ailments, especially early in ALS development. Patients may overlook unexplained muscle stiffness or a weakening grip because they think it’s something else. However, as symptoms worsen, clinicians can make a more accurate diagnosis.
Advanced Signs and Symptoms
Advanced signs and symptoms of ALS include:
- A loss of muscle mass
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme difficulty speaking
- Swallowing and chewing problems
- Weakening of muscles
While ALS progression cannot be stopped, it can be slowed by incorporating several different treatment strategies.
How to Manage Symptoms
By far, one of the most common treatments for ALS is physical therapy. With the help of a licensed physical therapist, ALS patients can work to strengthen essential muscle groups, such as those used to walk, grab items, or stand.
In addition, patients may often be referred to an occupational therapist. These therapists focus on helping the patient perform day-to-day tasks like brushing their teeth, using eating utensils, or getting dressed.
Medical advancements have led to the development of another potential intervention for ALS patients. Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, has the potential to help slow the progression of ALS and reduce the severity of symptoms. Patients who want to explore all treatment avenues may be good candidates for stem cell therapy.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for ALS, also known as Stem cell treatment for ALS. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.