When the brain’s motor neurons that sends signals to the spinal cord slowly degenerate, it is the onset of the condition called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and is more common in men, targeting the age range of 50 to 75 years.
Symptoms Of ALS In Men
ALS manifests itself in three variants, with each having different symptoms results.
- Primary bulbar palsy relates to the initial symptoms such as impaired speech and difficulty in swallowing. It can generally worsen due to the difficulties in both breathing and swallowing.
- Signs such as muscle weakness and deterioration are main features of progressive muscle atrophy. The progression of the condition is slower for patients suffering from this type of ALS. There are no swallowing and speech difficulties.
- Primary lateral sclerosis is characterized by spasticity or exaggerated movements like the knee-jerk reflex. There is no muscle atrophy and the prognosis is usually better.
Diagnosing Early Signs of ALS in Men
Early diagnosis is crucial for retarding the progression of the ALS.
- Doctors suspect the likelihood of ALS when the muscles grow weaker but there is no change in his or her sensations.
- Electromyography measures the muscle’s electrical activity and determines if the problem lies in the nerve cells or in the muscles.
- Further tests can be done, such as MRI scan to rule out conditions like tumors or degenerative diseases of the disc.
Treatment Of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
As causes of ALS have not been determined properly, there is no cure or form of treatment for the condition. There are medicines though, to help slow down the development of ALS.
- Doctors prescribe medication that lessens the amount of glutamate released in the neurons and blocks its effects on glutamate receptors.
- Prescribed medications that stop muscles cramps or spasms are advised.
- For patients suffering from swallowing problems, consuming food can be done through a tube inserted into the stomach.
- If the patient has breathing difficulties, a respirator may be needed.
- To combat ALS, there are herbs that patients may find useful like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, passion flower and goldenseal root. Consumption of fresh organic fruits and vegetables is recommended. Processed foods and fast foods must be avoided.
- Other forms of treatment include physiotherapy and meditation, to help patients work around their disability.