ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive nervous system disease. Plus, it impacts nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As a result, people with ALS experience a loss of muscle control. In general, doctors do not know why ALS occurs in people. At times, people inherit this disease genetically. Muscle twitching and weakness are usually the signs that tell people they have caught ALS. Eventually, it impacts the control of muscles that people need in order to move, speak, eat, and breathe. Further, there is not any cure for ALS.
ALS symptoms vary greatly for people, contingent on the neurons that ALS impacts. Typically, people with ALS experience weakness in muscles that disseminate and turn worse with time. In any case, the following are noticeable symptoms of ALS:
- Trouble walking or engaging in everyday activities
- Tripping plus falling
- Weaknesses in legs, feet, or ankles
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Muscle cramps
- Improper yawning, crying, or laughing
- Behavioural changes
- Cognitive changes
More often than not, the hands, feet, or limbs catch ALS, which eventually spreads to other body parts. In addition, ALS makes muscles weaker once it advances and destroys nerve cells. It also impacts people when they chew, swallow, speak, breathe, or speak. Further, ALS does not cause any pain in the early stages, but it becomes prominent in the advanced stages.
What Causes ALS?
ALS impacts the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscle movements. For the same reason, it affects walking or talking of people who fall victim to this neurodegenerative disease. ALS slowly deteriorates motor neurons and causes them to eventually die. Besides, motor neurons in humans extend from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles all through the body. When these neurons are destroyed, they halt sending messages to the muscles and make muscles stop functioning.
Further, 5 to 10 percent of people inherit ALS. Moreover, it is still a mystery why some people suffer from ALS. Further, ALS risk increases when people grow up. Most commonly, people between the ages of 40 and mid-60s suffer from ALS. Environmental factors may also trigger ALS, such as smoking, exposure to certain metals or chemicals, and environmental toxin exposure.
Complications with Progression of ALS
ALS causes the following complications in people when it progresses:
- Breathing Problems: ALS paralyzes the muscles humans need to breathe; thus, ALS patients may need a device to breathe.
- Speaking Problems: More often than not, people with ALS experience trouble speaking, which also becomes severe with time.
- Eating Problems: People with ALS can encounter malnutrition and dehydration. For the same reason, they face trouble swallowing.
- Dementia: People with ALS may have to deal with this impaired ability that contributes to thinking and decision-making.
Treatments for ALS
We mentioned at the start of this post that ALS has no cure. Still, it is possible to reduce the progression of ALS symptoms and avert complications. ALS sufferers may require a team of doctors with training in many areas, plus healthcare professionals, to get the care they need. It may help ALS people prolong their survival and ameliorate their way of living. Additionally, the team of doctors can help ALS patients choose the right treatments to deal with ALS symptoms. Further, the FDA has approved the following three medicines for managing ALS:
- Riluzole: When people take this medicine orally, it can increase life expectancy to 3 to 6 months. Still, it does not come without side effects. The side effects of this medicine include dizziness, a gastrointestinal condition, and liver function changes.
- Edaravone: Patients have to take this medicine through a vein in their arm or as a pill orally. Further, it can mitigate the decline in the daily functioning of a person. It also has side effects, like bruising, headache, or shortness of breath.
- Relyvrio: It can slow the rate of decrease in people to manage their daily functions. The potential side effects of this drug include diarrhea, belly pain, nausea, and upper respiratory infection.
In addition, a doctor may prescribe medications to ALS sufferers to get relief from other symptoms of ALS. Constipation, sleep problems, and fatigue, to name some of them.
How Can a Compounding Pharmacy Fulfil Prescriptions for ALS Patients?
Firstly, FDA-approved medicines for ALS have side effects. Secondly, each ALS patient is unique, so it is hard to determine whether the initial medication dosage will benefit the patient or not.
Nevertheless, physicians and neurologists can work with a compounding pharmacy to fulfill prescriptions for ALS patients. It can also help doctors and neurologists effectively test the effects of medication for ALS patients because pharmacy compounding works on the principle, “serving the exact needs of individual patients with the creation of custom compounded medications.” Thus, ALS patients, after consulting with their doctors, may take their prescription to a compounding pharmacy to fulfill it.
Can Therapies Help ALS Sufferers
Different types of therapies can help ALS sufferers, contingent on the symptoms of their disease. Breathing care, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional support can help ALS patients effectively tackle their problems and improve their quality of life.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes people to lose control of their muscles. Some of the noticeable symptoms of ALS are clumsiness, muscle cramps, and weaknesses in legs, feet, or ankles. ALS slowly deteriorates motor neurons to damage voluntary muscle movements like walking or talking. Further, smoking, exposure to certain metals or chemicals, and environmental factors can make people catch ALS. People with ALS can experience breathing, speaking, and eating problems. FDA has approved three medicines for ALS, including Riluzole, Edaravone, and Relyvrio. Still, the aforementioned medication does not come without side effects.
Further, working with a compounding pharmacy can help doctors and neurologists prescribe medications that can help patients effectively deal with ALS symptoms. Lastly, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can benefit ALS patients by improving their quality of life.
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