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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Guide

Alison Beaver

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ask: ALS

By Augusta
 
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In my country (Denmark) the wife of a prime minister fell sick in ALS and died shortly after. Now I would like to know if there still isn't any ways of treating this awful sickness. The brother of one of my friends choked on a piece of meat because he couldn't cough as his ALS paralyzed the muscles of his throat.

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Anonymous

Hi Augusta,
I am sorry to hear about your Country's loss. ALS is also called Lou Gehrig's Disease here in the United States. The best information that I have foudn comes from the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis/DS00359.

And also specifically here http://www.mayoclinic.org/lou-gehrigs-disease/?mc_id=comlinkpilot&placem....

According to the treatment options I have found it is the following:
* Medications. Your doctor decides whether to manage your condition with medications based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition. Your doctors may prescribe other medications to reduce nerve damage, control muscle spasms and stiffness, and reduce symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, constipation, and excess saliva and phlegm. You may need several medications.
* Physical and occupational therapy. In physical therapy, you may perform low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and stationary-bicycle riding to strengthen your muscles, improve your heart (cardiovascular) health and fight fatigue and depression. You also may perform range-of-motion and stretching exercises to help prevent muscle spasms and cramping and maintain your range of motion. In occupational therapy, you may learn to use assistive devices such as a wheelchair.
* Speech therapy. Lou Gehrig's disease affects the muscles you use to speak. A speech therapist can teach you how to speak more clearly to be better understood. As your disease progresses, you may learn to use devices such as speech synthesizers and computers to communicate.
* Assistive devices. Assistive devices can help you maintain as much mobility as possible. Braces can support weakened muscles in your limbs. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs also can help with mobility. As Lou Gehrig's disease weakens muscles you use to breathe, you may need a breathing machine (a mask or a ventilator) to assist with your breathing.
* Nutritional support. A nutrition specialist can offer you advice about nutritious foods that are easy to swallow. As Lou Gehrig's disease progresses, you may eventually need to have a feeding tube inserted into your stomach for nutrition.
* Mental health care. As Lou Gehrig's disease progresses, your mind, personality, intelligence, memory and senses usually aren't affected. You're usually aware that you're losing muscle function. Some people become anxious and depressed and benefit from medication and counseling.
* Family support. Your family members may need help coping with your disease and its challenges. Your treatment team offers various resources, education and information for your family. Also, your family members can ask your treatment team for information about connecting with local ALS support groups.
* Follow-up care. Mayo Clinic doctors provide coordinated treatment and follow-up care for people who have Lou Gehrig's disease and will work closely with your primary care or local doctor.

Does this help answer your question?
Missie

January 9, 2011 - 9:56am
Augusta (reply to Anonymous)

What a lot of good information you bring. Thank you for that.
I suppose that the wife of the ex-prime minister had all the treatments available, but I don't think that goes for the brother of my friend. Your comment about speech impairments is very interesting to me when I think of this man. First of all, that was one of his symptoms, and then he is killed by lack of muscle power in his throat. The suffocation also happened so suddenly and had such a fast course that it indicates severe damages to the muscles in the throat.

January 9, 2011 - 11:49am
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