13 Sep Dealing with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease that attacks spinal nerves making it gradually impossible for the nerves to pass messages between the brain and the muscles in the rest of the body. As a result of the attack on the nervous system, people with ALS gradually have problems controlling muscles required for daily activities such as walking, chewing, swallowing, talking, and even breathing.
Researchers have not been able to discover the cause of ALS. In some patients, they attribute the disorder’s origin to a range of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. In other patients, they cannot state its exact cause. ALS is a fatal disease. Medication and therapies can only slow down the rate of decline of nerves. However, clinical trials using stem cell therapy have had some success in prolonging quality of life and reducing ALS symptoms in patients.
Changes that Occur in the Body
Getting an ALS diagnosis is a very devastating event due to the aggressiveness of the disorder. The first step towards dealing with an ALS disease is knowing some of the changes that would occur in the body as the condition progresses. The first symptoms of ALS usually include slurred speech, trouble swallowing, twitching in limbs and tongue, and numbness and cramps in the limbs. As symptoms worsen, more nerves and muscles are affected. Patients may have difficulty chewing and swallowing, walking, speaking clearly, grasping things, and breathing.
The life expectancy for ALS is usually low, between three to five years, but patients can survive for ten years or longer after diagnosis. With adequate medical care and lifestyle changes, you can continue to do the things you love for years or even decades after getting an ALS diagnosis. Stephen Hawkings, an English theoretical physicist, and cosmologist lived with ALS for fifty years and had the best years of his highly inspiring career while battling the disease.
Helpful Lifestyle Changes
Muscle stiffness and cramps are the main causes of decline in patients with ALS. As such, medical practitioners recommend simple exercises and stretches to keep the muscles active for as long as possible. It is also important to keep an open mind when dealing with an ALS diagnosis. Doing this will give you the zeal to participate in therapies that may help your quality of life and independent living. A positive outlook will also make it easier to work with your medical team and caregivers.
Speech and Physical Therapy
Movement and speech are vital parts of our daily activities. Your medical team will recommend a wide range of speech and physical therapies to help you do these things for a more extended period. They would also recommend assistive devices that can aid these activities as the symptoms worsen.
From going to the bathroom to breathing, patients with ALS require assistive devices that can reduce their dependence on other people. Assistive devices include motorized wheelchairs, respirators or other devices that alleviate breathing issues, speech devices, special utensils, toilet seats, and furniture.
Stem cell therapy may alleviate the symptoms of ALS. Many clinical studies in varying levels, with encouraging results, are looking into using the body’s natural substances to treat this debilitating condition. Book an appointment with the RSCI’s stem cell therapy Chicago centers for more information.