ALS Awareness Month is celebrated in May of every year. Many Caregivers in California are caring for those with ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In order to find ways to battle ALS, it is important to know and understand this disease better. Here are a few basic things you need to know about this condition.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a condition that affects the nerve cells located in the brain and in the spinal cord. ALS is characterized by loss of muscle movement, making patients rely on providers of Home Care in Oakland, California to assist them with daily chores and activities. This condition often develops at the age of 40 to 70 years old. It does not have any cure or known cause yet.
The Two Types of ALS
ALS comes in two different types. These are:
- Sporadic – the most common type of ALS affecting anyone, anywhere.
- Familial – the type of ALS inherited from family members.
Different people may experience different symptoms of ALS in its initial stages. This condition develops gradually. So, while some people may have troubles using a pen, others may have changes in their speaking voices. Additionally, the rate at which this disease progresses may also differ from one person to another. While 3 to 5 years is the survival period for most patients, there are those who live 5 or more years.
The most common symptom of ALS on its initial stage is progressive muscle weakness which is generally painless. Other initial symptoms may also include the following instances:
- Feeling abnormal fatigue on the legs and/or arms
- Muscle cramps or twitches
- Slurred speech
There are even those who laugh or cry uncontrollably. If the breathing muscles become affected, permanent ventilators may be necessary to support breathing. A non-medical home care provider typically assists patients whose symptoms are already affecting their independence.
It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose ALS in a person. There is no single test that can help in diagnosing ALS. Instead, a series of tests will have to be conducted to eliminate other conditions that display symptoms similar to that of ALS. Some of the tests that may be ordered by the doctors include:
- Electrodiagnostic tests
- Nerve and muscle biopsy
- Spinal tap
- and more…
Patients with ALS often require support and assistance from others. Let Aveida Home Care give you or your loved ones such as support and assistance. Call us today.