Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurological disorder. It attacks certain nerve cells called motor neurons in the central nervous system. These cells control voluntary muscle movements such as moving your arms and legs. As ALS progresses, you gradually lose the ability to move muscles used to do things such as speak, eat, or pick up a pen.
To find quality care for ALS in Sacramento and the surrounding areas, come to Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California for advanced treatment from one of our experienced neurologists. Our team of experts collaborates to treat even the most complex disorders. Find a Doctor today for a trusted diagnosis and treatment plan.
What are the Symptoms of ALS?
The signs and symptoms of ALS may vary from person to person and can sometimes be so gradual and mild they aren’t even noticeable.
Muscle weakness or stiffness are early symptoms, along with muscle cramps or twitches, slurred speech, fatigue, and difficulty swallowing. As ALS advances, muscles weaken and waste away (atrophy), causing more noticeable symptoms.
The disease initially affects the nerves controlling either the arms and legs or those that control speech. However, because it is a progressive disease, ALS will eventually affect the entire body. The most severe symptoms include:
- Trouble moving and eventual loss of movement (paralysis)
- Inability to breathe, which requires a permanent ventilator (breathing machine)
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing, weakening the ability to eat
Reliable ALS Treatment in the Sacramento Region
As we’re committed to your health and well-being, rely on the neurologists at Dignity Health to stay up-to-date with the latest treatments to provide the best possible care for our patients.
While there is not yet a cure for ALS, some people with an active treatment plan may live longer than the typical survival rate of three to five years. Some people with ALS have lived 10 years or more with the disease.
A drug for ALS called riluzole can help you live a few months longer and may also delay the need for a ventilator. Other treatments, including drug combinations, are in clinical trials.
Your treatments will most likely focus on reducing the symptoms of ALS and improving your quality of life. Our neurology team at Dignity Health may use the following as ALS treatment:
Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California provides complete care and treatment for ALS in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas.
- Physical therapy, including light aerobic exercises
- Speech therapy, including learning to use nonverbal methods of communication
- Occupational therapy to improve safety and maintain independence for as long as possible
- Ventilation support, including a ventilation machine to take over breathing
- Nutritional support and, possibly, a feeding tube