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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is characterized by the gradual degeneration of the motor neurons, resulting in muscular weakness, paralysis, and ultimately death. As the condition progresses, it can cause an individual to lose the ability to move, speak, eat and breathe independently.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and fatal neurological disorder that affects motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons are responsible for sending messages from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the muscles throughout the body, allowing us to move. In ALS, these motor neurons degenerate, leading to physical disability and eventual death. While the cause of ALS is not known, research suggests that genetic and environmental factors may play a role in its development.

What is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 

  1. Nervous system

Medical terms

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It typically progresses rapidly, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy, and ultimately, paralysis. There is no known cure for ALS, but some treatments can help slow its progression and improve quality of life. Symptoms of ALS include muscle twitching and weakness in the arms, legs, and around the mouth, trouble speaking and swallowing, problems with balance and walking, and cognitive changes.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by the death of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to the breakdown of muscle control and movement, as well as a gradual loss of speech, swallowing and breathing capacity. ALS is a debilitating and terminal illness with no known cure, and is estimated to affect up to 200,000 people worldwide. For those diagnosed with ALS, it is important to receive comprehensive care from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who can provide treatment and support to help manage the physical and psychological effects of the disease.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with the condition in the 1930s. It is characterized by muscle weakness and atrophy, which eventually leads to paralysis of the skeletal muscles and ultimately death. ALS has no known cure and can develop rapidly or progress slowly over several years.

Types of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Motor neuron diseases are a group of neurological disorders that cause the death of motor neurons, which control voluntary muscle activity. These diseases may involve the upper motor neurons, located in the brain and brainstem, or the lower motor neurons located in the spinal cord and brainstem. The most common type is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Other types include primary lateral sclerosis, progressive muscular atrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, bulbar palsy, and progressive bulbar palsy.

Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurological diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness due to the death of motor neurons. The most common type of MND is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Other forms of MND include progressive bulbar palsy, progressive muscular atrophy, primary lateral sclerosis, and spinal muscular atrophy. All of these diseases cause progressive weakness, spasticity, and wasting of muscles.

Styles of motor neuron sicknesses:

  • Classical ALS, the most commonplace kind, influences extra than -thirds of people with ALS. Both the higher and lower motor neurons decline.

  • Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) influences about 25% of human beings with ALS. It starts off evolving with issue talking, chewing and swallowing caused by a breakdown of the upper and decreased motor neurons to the mouth and throat. This condition will occasionally get worse to have an effect on the relaxation of your frame, in which case the circumstance is known as bulbar-onset ALS.

  • Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) influences the lower motor neurons.

  • Primary lateral sclerosis is the rarest form of ALS. Only the higher motor neurons decline.

Symptoms Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Signs and symptoms of ALS range substantially from person to person, depending on which neurons are affected. It normally starts with muscle weak points that spread and get worse through the years. Signs and signs and symptoms would possibly encompass:

  • Difficulty strolling or doing normal daily sports

  • Tripping and falling

  • Weakness to your legs, feet or ankles

  • Hand weak spot or clumsiness

  • Slurred speech or hassle swallowing

  • Muscle cramps and twitching for your palms, shoulders and tongue

  • Inappropriate crying, laughing or yawning

  • Cognitive and behavioral modifications

ALS frequently starts off evolving in the arms, fat or limbs, and then spreads to different elements of your body. As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed, your muscle tissues get weaker. This ultimately impacts chewing, swallowing, speaking and respiration.

There's usually no ache inside the early stages of ALS, and pain is uncommon in the later levels. ALS would not normally have an effect on your bladder management or your senses.

Causes Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

ALS affects the nerve cells that manipulate voluntary muscle movements such as taking walks and talking (motor neurons). ALS causes the motor neurons to regularly deteriorate, after which die. Motor neurons extend from the mind to the spinal wire to muscle tissues at some point of the body. When motor neurons are damaged, they prevent sending messages to the muscle tissues, so the muscle mass can not be characterized.


ALS is inherited in five% to 10% of people. For the rest, the purpose isn't regarded.

Researchers hold to examine possible causes of ALS. Most theories middle on a complicated interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

Risk Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Established danger elements for ALS encompass:

  • Heredity. Five to 10 percent of the humans with ALS inherited it (familial ALS). In the general public with familial ALS, their children have a 50-50 hazard of growing the disease.

  • Age. ALS hazard increases with age, and is most not unusual between the a long time of 40 and the mid-60s.

  • Sex. Before the age of 65, barely extra guys than women develop ALS. This sex distinction disappears after age 70.

  • Genetics. Some studies inspecting the entire human genome located many similarities within the genetic versions of humans with familial ALS and a few people with non inherited ALS. These genetic variations might make people more liable to ALS.

Environmental elements, which includes the subsequent, might cause ALS.

  • Smoking. Smoking is the only probable environmental risk element for ALS. The danger appears to be best for girls, particularly after menopause.

  • Environmental toxin publicity. Some evidence suggests that exposure to lead or different substances within the workplace or at home might be linked to ALS. Much observation has been carried out, but no single agent or chemical has been continuously related to ALS.

  • Military carrier. Studies imply that human beings who have served inside the army are at higher threat of ALS. It's uncertain what approximately army provider may cause the development of ALS. It might include exposure to sure metals or chemicals, traumatic accidents, viral infections, and intense exertion.

Complications Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Over time, ALS paralyzes the muscle tissues you operate to breathe. You might need a device that will help you breathe at night time, similar to what a person with sleep apnea might wear. For instance, you may be given a bilevel high quality airway stress (BiPAP) tool to help along with your respiration at night time. This kind of device helps your breathing via a mask worn over your nose, your mouth or each.

  • Some people with superior ALS pick out to have a tracheostomy — a surgically created hole at the front of the neck leading to the windpipe (trachea) — for full-time use of a respirator that inflates and deflates their lungs.

  • The maximum not unusual reason of dying for humans with ALS is breathing failure. On average, death occurs inside 3 to five years after symptoms begin. However, a few people with ALS live 10 or more years.

  • Most people with ALS develop problem talking. This typically starts off evolved as occasional, slight slurring of words, however turns into more intense. Speech ultimately turns into tough for others to apprehend, and those with ALS frequently depend on other verbal exchange technology to talk.

  • People with ALS can expand malnutrition and dehydration from harm to the muscle mass that manipulate swallowing. They also are at better risk of getting food, liquids or saliva into the lungs, which could motivate pneumonia. A feeding tube can reduce these risks and ensure proper hydration and nutrients.

Diagnosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is tough to diagnose early due to the fact it can mimic different neurological illnesses. Tests to rule out different conditions would possibly consist of:

  • Electromyogram (EMG). Your doctor inserts a needle electrode via your skin into diverse muscular tissues. The check evaluates the electrical pastime of your muscles when they agree and whilst they're at relaxation.

  • Abnormalities in muscular tissues visible in an EMG can help medical doctors diagnose or rule out ALS. An EMG also can help guide your workout remedy.

  • Nerve conduction observation. This takes a look at measures your nerves' ability to ship impulses to muscle mass in specific areas of your frame. This take a look at can determine when you have nerve harm or certain muscle or nerve illnesses.

  • MRI. Using radio waves and an effective magnetic discipline, an MRI produces a specific pix of your brain and spinal twine. An MRI can reveal spinal cord tumors, herniated disks on your neck or different situations that are probably inflicting your signs.

  • Blood and urine checks. Analyzing samples of your blood and urine within the laboratory may help your health practitioner dispose of different possible causes of your signs and symptoms and signs and symptoms.

  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). This involves disposing of a sample of your spinal fluid for laboratory testing using a small needle inserted between  vertebrae in your lower back.

  • Muscle biopsy. If your doctor believes you may have a muscle disorder in place of ALS, you may undergo a muscle biopsy. While you are below local anesthesia, a small part of your muscle is eliminated and despatched to a lab for evaluation.

Treatment Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Treatments can't reverse the harm of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, however they are able to slow the progression of symptoms, save you headaches, and make you more relaxed and impartial.

You might want an included crew of doctors skilled in lots of regions and different fitness care experts to offer your care. This would possibly lengthen your survival and improve your best of lifestyles.

Your team will help you pick out the proper treatments for you. You have the right to pick or refuse any of the treatments suggested.


The Food and Drug Administration has approved 3 drug treatments for treating ALS:

  • Riluzole (Rilutek, Exservan, Tiglutik kit). Taken orally, this remedy can boost lifestyle expectancy by using three to six months. It can motivate facet outcomes together with dizziness, gastrointestinal conditions and liver feature modifications. Your fitness care company will screen your blood counts and liver features at the same time as you take the medication.

  • Edaravone (Radicava). This medication, given via a vein in your arm or orally as a tablet, can reduce the decline in day by day functioning. Its impact on life span is not yet known. Side results can include bruising, headache and shortness of breath. This medicinal drug is given daily for 2 weeks a month.

  • Sodium phenylbutyrate and taurus ursodiol (Relyvrio). This remedy, these days permitted via the FDA, can sluggish the price of decline in human beings with ALS. In unique, it may assist people with appearing day by day duties. It may additionally help people with ALS live longer, but more examination is needed. Potential facet results of the drugs encompass diarrhea, belly pain, nausea and upper respiratory contamination. People with disorders that affect bile acid move may additionally enjoy diarrhea that gets worse when taking this remedy.

Your doctor might also prescribe medicinal drugs to provide comfort from different symptoms, which include:

  • Muscle cramps and spasms

  • Constipation

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive saliva and phlegm

  • Pain

  • Depression

  • Sleep issues

  • Uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying


  • Breathing care. You'll subsequently have greater respiratory issues as your muscle mass weakens. Doctors may take a look at your respiration often and offer you with devices to help your respiration at night time.

  • You can choose mechanical air flow that will help you breathe. Doctors insert a tube in a surgically created hole at the front of your neck leading in your windpipe (tracheostomy) that connects to a respirator.

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can deal with pain, walking, mobility, bracing and equipment wishes that help you live impartially. Practicing low-impact sports can assist preserve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle electricity and range of movement for as long as feasible.

  • Regular exercise can also assist improve your experience of well-being. Appropriate stretching can help prevent pain and help your muscle groups feature at their quality.

  • A bodily therapist also can assist you to regulate a brace, walker or wheelchair and can advocate gadgets which include ramps that make it less difficult to get around.

  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist allows you to locate approaches to remain impartial in spite of hand and arm weakness. Adaptive equipment assists you to carry out sports inclusive of dressing, grooming, ingesting and bathing.

  • An occupational therapist also can help you alter your private home to permit accessibility when you have problems strolling correctly.

  • Speech therapy. A speech therapist can teach you adaptive techniques to make your speech extra comprehensible. Speech therapists also can help you discover different techniques of communication, along with an alphabet board or pen and paper.

  • Ask your therapist about the opportunity of borrowing or renting gadgets which include tablet computer systems with textual content-to-speech applications or laptop-primarily based systems with synthesized speech that permit you to speak.

  • Nutritional aid. Your crew will work with you and your own family participants to make certain you're consuming ingredients which can be less difficult to swallow and meet your nutritional desires. You would possibly sooner or later want a feeding tube.

  • Psychological and social support. Your group may include a social worker to assist with economic troubles, insurance, and getting systems and deciding to buy devices you need. Psychologists, social workers and others may provide emotional help for you and your family.

Coping and help

Learning you've got ALS can be devastating. The following guidelines may also assist you and your own family cope:

  • Take time to grieve. The news that you have a fatal situation with a purpose to lessen your mobility and independence is tough. You and your own family will possibly go through a duration of mourning and grief after analysis.

  • Be hopeful. Your team will help you recognize your capabilities and healthful dwelling. Some people with ALS live lots longer than the 3 to five years typically associated with this situation. Some live 10 years or more. Maintaining a positive outlook can assist improve high-quality lifestyles for human beings with ALS.

  • Think beyond the physical modifications. Many people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis lead profitable lives no matter physical boundaries. Try to think about ALS as the simplest one: a part of your existence, not your complete identification.

  • Join an assist group. You would possibly find consolation in an assisted institution with others who've ALS. Loved ones supporting along with your care additionally would possibly benefit from a help group of other ALS caregivers. Find assist businesses for your place with the aid of speakme for your physician or by way of contacting the ALS Association.

  • Make choices now about your future hospital therapy. Planning for the future lets you be in control of choices about your life and your care. With the help of your doctor, hospice nurse or social employee, you could decide whether or not you want sure life-extending procedures.

  • You can also decide where you want to spend your final days. You may take into account hospice care options. Planning for the future will let you and your loved ones calm anxieties.

Preparing to your appointment

You may first consult your family doctor about signs and symptoms and symptoms of ALS. Then your medical doctor will possibly refer you to a health practitioner skilled in anxious machine conditions

What to anticipate out of your medical doctor

Your circle of relatives' medical doctors will evaluate your circle of relatives' scientific records and your symptoms and symptoms. Your neurologist and your circle of relatives doctor would possibly conduct a bodily and neurological examination, which might consist of trying out the subsequent:

  • Reflexes

  • Muscle energy

  • Muscle tone

  • Senses of contact and sight

  • Coordination

  • Balance

General summary

  1. Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurological conditions that affect the motor neurons responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements. The two most common types of MNDs are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). ALS is a progressive neurological disease which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, problems with coordination, and difficulty speaking or swallowing. PLS is an upper motor neuron disorder that causes weakness in the limbs and can eventually lead to paralysis.

  2. Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurological disorders that affect the nerves of the body responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. MNDs can be either spinal muscular atrophy, which affects the lower motor neurons in the spinal cord, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which affects both the upper and lower motor neurons. Primary lateral sclerosis, progressive bulbar palsy, and progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) are all forms of MNDs that impact different parts of the body. The causes of MNDs are unknown, however genetic mutations, environmental factors, and a combination of both have been linked to MNDs in some cases.

  3. Motor neuron diseases are a type of neurological disorder that affects the motor neurons, which are responsible for controlling voluntary movements. These diseases can affect people of all ages, but are most commonly seen in individuals over the age of fifty. They can range in severity, with some cases leading to disability or even death. The most common motor neuron diseases include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), and progressive muscular atrophy (PMA).

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

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