Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological pathology, which makes a motor neuron damage the cerebral cortex and anterior horns of the spinal cord. ALS is also a neurological disorder that causes the disintegration of nerve cells. As a result, there is a decrease in muscle activity, repression of motor and respiratory functions.
Generally, the illness is diagnosed at the age of 50 – 70 years and is characterized by a rapidly progressive chronic course. Without proper therapy, the state of patients is steadily deteriorating, leading to a significant infringement of the quality of life, disability and death within 5-6 years after the initial detection of ALS.
Reasons for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
There are several theories concerning what causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The pathology was firstly identified in 1939 in the famous baseball player Lou Gehrig (ALS has a second name after his name). At that time, doctors could not determine the reason for the illness that struck the famous athlete. Actually, this issue remains unresolved even for modern specialists. However, some of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis risk factors are known for certain:
- heredity (5-10%) – in children, both of whose parents suffered from this disease, the risk of developing ALS doubles;
- old age and gender – up to 65 years of age, the disease is more often detected in men, after 70 years – in men and women with the same frequency;
- unfavorable environmental conditions, bad habits and occupational hazards, such as air pollution in large industrial cities, tobacco smoking, exposure to lead;
- increased physical activity – military personnel and professional athletes are at high risk.
Symptoms of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
There are several Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis signs which you shouldn’t turn a blind eye on to. Among them:
- difficulty in walking or carrying various activities;
- saliva and mucus issues;
- hardship in holding head up;
- spasms in hands, ankles, feet and legs.
With the progression of the disease, the intensity and severity of clinical manifestations progress: increases weakness in arms and legs, appear serious problems with breathing, swallowing and speaking. Patients note their sluggishness and clumsiness, rapid fatigue and the inability to perform everyday activities in their usual rhythm.
However, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis does not affect human’s thinking abilities or the bowel movement. Symptoms of ALS in the early stages almost never alert patients and do not arouse any suspicion, since these are common characteristic signs of other neurological pathologies:
- muscle weakness;
- infrequent and irregular muscle twitching;
- fasciculations — involuntary muscle twitching;
- dysarthria — a violation of speaking.
Diagnostics of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Due to the fact that Lou Gehring’s disease is symptomatically similar in many cases to other diseases of the nervous system, in Israel, in order to establish an accurate diagnosis, a differential examination is required, which is included in the cost of ALS treatment. These are diagnosis that exclude other pathologies:
- laboratory blood tests;
- genetic testing;
- instrumental examinations;
- limb electromyography;
- MRI of the brain and spine;
- nerve study;
- urine testing;
- consulting related specialists.
Eventually, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be diagnosed in a person despite their gender, age, race, geographical position or ethnicity. Children of the ill suffering from this disorder have 50 percent more likeness to obtain this disease than a person born to a parent without such diagnosis.