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Transcript
Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis
Presented By: Jillymae Medina
What is ALS?
 Often referred to as "Lou
Gehrig's disease”
 It’s a progressive
neurological disease that
affects nerve cells in the
brain and the spinal cord
 The onset is between 40 to
70 years of age
 Twice as many men as
women are affected
What happens to the body in ALS?
 For unknown reasons, motor neurons in the
brainstem and spinal cord gradually
degenerate.
 When the motor neurons die, the ability of the
brain to initiate and control muscle movement
is lost
Early symptoms of ALS
 Difficulty lifting the front part of the foot
(footdrop)
 Weakness in the leg, feet or ankles
 Hand weakness or clumsiness
 Slurring of speech or trouble swallowing
 Muscle cramps and twitching in the arms,
shoulders and tongue
 Fatigue
 The muscles begin to atrophy
•Limbs begin to look "thinner" as
muscle tissue atrophies.
What else?
 Eventually, when the muscles in the
diaphragm and chest wall become too weak,
patients require a ventilator to breathe
 Most people with ALS die from respiratory
failure, usually 3 to 5 years after being
diagnosed
Diagnosis
 No test can provide a definitive diagnosis of
ALS
 Patient's full medical history and a
neurological examination to assess
whether symptoms are getting progressively
worse
Diagnosis
 The diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on
the symptoms and signs the physician
observes in the patient and a series of tests
to rule out other diseases:
 Electromyogram
 Nerve Conduction Study
 MRI, CT Scans
 Spinal Tap
 Blood & Urine Test
 Muscle biopsy
Treatment
 No cure has yet been found for ALS
 Riluzole (Rilutek) is believed to reduce damage
to motor neurons by decreasing the release of
glutamate
 Rilutek prolongs survival by several months
 The drug also extends the time before a patient
needs ventilation support
 Does not reverse the damage already done to
motor neurons, and patients taking the drug
must be monitored for liver damage and other
possible side effects
Treatment
 A physical therapist can recommend a low
impact excersice to maintain muscle strength
and ROM
 An occupational therapist may be able to
suggest devices such braces, walker or
wheelchair and ramps that make it easier for
the pt to get around
 A speech therapist can help teach techniques
to make speech more clearly understood and
offer devices to make communication easier
Prognosis & Nursing Care
 ALS usually leads to death within 2 to 6 years
after diagnosis
 This illness is devastating because the pt
remains cognitively intact while wasting away
 Nursing care is aimed to support the patient’s
cognitive and emotional state in means of
communication, reading, companionship and
helping the patient and family cope with the
disease process
THE END