1Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle coordination..
2Meet Jim, Jim is a 48 year old male who has been experiencing weakness of the legs and lots of muscle cramps. Jim has had these symptoms for a few months now, and has finally decided to go to the doctors.
3Symptoms Weakness of speech muscles, hands legs or feet. Twitching and cramping of muscles, especially in the hands and feet.Slurred speech or difficulty speaking.Difficulty chewing or breathing.Trouble using the hands for daily activities such as buttoning a shirt.
4Affected Regions of the Brain ALS affects the motor cortex, which contains motor neurons that control voluntary muscle movement.
5Diagnosis of ALSBlood test: Testing for the enzyme creatine kinase which leaks out of damaged muscles.Cerebrospinal Fluid Exam: Tests the fluid around your spinal cord and brain.Electromyogram (EMG): Indicates whether or not motor nerves are functioning properly.MRI: Performed to rule out any conditions related to the nervous system.Muscle Biopsy: Performed to rule out any muscular disorders.Nerve Conduction Study: Measures the electrical impulses and functioning in your nerves and muscles.Respiratory Test: Performed to see if the muscles that control breathing are affected by the condition.
6TreatmentMedications: The doctor will prescribe medication based on the symptoms and severity of your condition. Medication may reduce symptoms such as pain, stiffness and muscle cramps.Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy: Doctors will have the patient perform exercises such as biking or swimming to strengthen the muscles and stretches to help prevent cramps. They will also introduce assistive equipment to the patient as the disease progresses.Speech Therapy: A patient may need a speech therapist as the disease progresses. They can help the patient learn to speak more clearly as it becomes harder for them to use speech muscles.Nutritional Specialist: They may advise a patient on what foods to eat as it becomes harder for them to swallow.Mental Health Specialist: Psychologists can help an ALS patient learn to cope with the emotional effects of the disease. Also, social workers may be involved in helping a patient get the equipment they need and deal with their financial issues.
7PrognosisAn individual with ALS will experience increased muscle weakness as the disease progresses. A patient will have increased difficulty with moving, speaking and swallowing. Eventually, the patient will not be able to walk, stand up or get out of bed without help. Later stages of the disease will increase weakness in the muscles of the respiratory system, making it difficult for a patient to breath. Most people with ALS will die form respiratory failure after about 3 to 5 years of the onset symptoms.
8Error in Communication In ALS, the motor neurons begin to degenerate or die. Because the motor neurons are not sending signals to muscles, muscles weaken and lose their ability to function. Eventually all muscles under voluntary control are affected and patients lose all ability to move.
9Biomedical Professionals Physical Therapists: They will treat patients with injuries and help them manage their pain. In order to become a physical therapist a graduates degree is required along with licensing. They will recommend specific exercises for the patients with ALS to strengthen muscles and help them maintain range of motion.Respiratory Therapists: They care for patients that have difficulty breathing. In order to become a respiratory therapist an associates degree is required, along with licensing in most states. They will evaluate breathing and muscle strength for the patient and also provide necessary equipment to help them breathe.
10CitationsAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (2014, April 9). Retrieved November 11, 2014, fromNINDS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Information Page. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2014, fromAbout ALS. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2014, fromPhysical Therapy: Required Education to Be a Physical Therapist. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from portal.com/articles/Physical_Therapy_Required_Education_to_Be_a_Physical_Therap ist.htmlSummary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from