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Fact Sheet of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als) is a disease characterized by damage and death of cells in the brain, spinal cord, which are responsible for muscle movement. It provokes muscle weakness and paralysis.

Patients lose the ability to move independently, the activity of muscles that are necessary for breathing is disrupted, which leads to the death of patients. Modern clinical researches estimated what causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. There are several factors that, according to researchers, affect the onset of the illness. 

What causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Unfortunately, there is no actual explanation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als). Nevertheless, there are several factors that can provoke the disease, including:

  • Genetic mutations, which can be inherited, causing illnesses in future generations.
  • Increased levels of glutamate in the nervous system. Excess glutamate damages some nerve cells.
  • Immune system disorders. 
  • Accumulation of altered proteins in nerve cells. This can lead to the death of nerve cells.

Types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

The classification of als includes 3 main kinds: classic sporadic, hereditary and “shape of the Mariana Islands”. 

Classic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is diagnosed in 90-95% of patients. This form is "sporadic", because it cannot be inherited. A rare hereditary form can be genetic, or inherited. This form affects people aged 47 years. The “Mariana Islands form” is the most unusual and uncommon type of this illness.

ALS symptoms

Depending on types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, there are several manifestations in different periods of the illness:

  • weakness in the muscles of the arms or legs — a decrease in muscle strength can begin with the foot, hand, fingers, and then spread to other muscles of the limbs, trunk;
  • slurred speech;
  • nasal sound of speech;
  • difficulty swallowing food;
  • twitching in the muscles of the arms, legs, tongue.

Over time, muscle weakness builds up, leading to paralysis. In the later stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the following manifestations occur:

  • loss of the ability to stand, walk;
  • disability to chew, swallow food;
  • pronounced speech difficulties;
  • loss of the ability to breathe independently.

Depending on your symptoms, our professionals will prescribe the best amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatments.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis risk factors

As a rule, there are several groups of patients that suffer from ALS in particular. They enumerate people having close relatives who suffer from this disorder, men — the disease occurs more often in males than in females and people aged 40-60. Besides, smokers are at risk of developing ALS as well as people coming into contact with lead.

ALS diagnosis

Laboratory diagnostics play an important role. In our medical center tests are carried out that reflect the general condition of the patient's blood, indicators of liver and kidney activity. If abnormalities are detected, additional research may be required, such as:

  • Electromyography.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • General blood analysis.
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT).
  • Treponema pallidum, antibodies.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatments

There are no treatments to achieve complete recovery. However, there are some ways on how to slow down the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als). Medications are used to lower the level of glutamate in the brain. Also, drugs are usually prescribed to eliminate certain symptoms of the disease (for example, weakness, muscle twitching, constipation).

Physical therapy is of great importance. According to our neurologists, daily training of the muscles of the arms, legs and trunk contribute to the longest possible preservation of movements. Special speech exercises help make the pronunciation of words and sounds more intelligible and understandable to others. 

Don’t be afraid to trust your health into the hands of professionals. Contact our clinic and we’ll manage your problem.