Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Treatment

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Treatment

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    Ventilation machines are the primary treatment for breathing problems in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, some medications can play supplementary roles. Expectorants can make it easier to cough up fluids that are obstructing breathing. Another class of medications can help cut down on drool, which can cause choking. Sometimes bronchiodialators are prescribed to increase the flow of air to and from the lungs; however, these drugs do not treat the underlying problem behind ALS and they may not be very helpful.

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    Riluzole is the primary medication currently prescribed for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It comes in the form of a 50 milligram pill, to be taken twice daily. It slows the disease and prolongs life for some patients, possibly by counteracting an excess of glutamate in the brain. Doctors may also prescribe sedatives and painkillers to alleviate some of the everyday suffering of ALS. Other medications may be prescribed to treat problems swallowing, exhaustion, constipation, and muscle cramps.

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    While there is no cure for ALS, medications, heat, whirlpool therapy, and exercise may be used to relieve the painful muscle cramps associated with this syndrome. In addition, helpful medical devices such as wheelchairs, electric beds, splints, corrective braces, or grab bars can help with daily, routine tasks.

    As symptoms increase, it may also be helpful to modify your diet, as swallowing may be hard, and to undergo communication training to maintain verbal skills as speech worsens.

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    Therapy can slow the impact of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on speech and voice. In earlier stages of the disease, a speech therapist can help teach someone with ALS how to make up for some of the muscle deficits they are experiencing. Typically, speech therapists will not recommend a regimen of exercises to strengthen the muscles in the tongue and mouth. They are more likely to focus on speaking slowly and articulately. Eventually the therapist may need to help the person with alternate means of communication, such as speech synthesizers.

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    Ventilation to assist with breathing problems in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an important element of lifespan extension. Several technologies of ventilation can help people with ALS to breathe. A variety of noninvasive breathing devices are available and can be effective when used only for some part of the day, for example, when sleeping. In the case of more advanced respiratory problems, a tracheostomy can be used to insert an air tube. A machine pumps air through the tube continually. One someone with ALS begins to use this method, it is unlikely that they will ever breathe on their own again.

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    The muscle deterioration associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a secondary consequence of damage to the nervous system. Physical therapy can slow down the deterioration of muscles that occurs when they fall into disuse. Speech therapy can help people with ALS to express themselves in spite of the limitations the disease imposes.

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    While there is no cure for ALS, a new drug was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA that is the first drug to reliably prolong the survival of people with ALS.

    Unfortunately, patients will not get stronger or regain any of their former strength with the drug.

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    There is no known cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). People with ALS usually die within five years of being diagnosed. However, one drug, called riluzole, is sometimes effective in slowing the progress of the illness. Some people with ALS manage to live a decade. Few live longer than 30 years after diagnosis.