Neuromotor Disorders as ALS Symptoms
Diagnostics, Neurological Care and Follow-up
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disease caused by the loss of motor nerve cells (neurons) in the central nervous system, spinal cord and brain stem, which tremendously affects a person's quality of life. Experts point out that in the early stages of the disease there is difficulty in movements that require fine motor skills as combing hair, turning a key into the lock, using a mouse or a pen. Some patients may even have difficulty in swallowing and speech disorders.
Dr. Celal Salcini, Neurology Department of NPİSTANBUL Brain Hospital, Uskudar University shares information on the disease diagnostics and treatment.
Stating that ALS stands for “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”, Dr. Celal Şalçini says, “ALS is a disorder associated with the motor nerves disfunctions of extremities, limbs, throat and mouth. It should be mentioned that there may not be damage related to sensory nervous system, since in general patients with ALS have no numbness in legs or hands. Thus, this disease affects the nerves that go to the muscles of extremitites, therefore, patients woth ALS exhibit such symptoms as muscle weakness, twitching and thinning.
Fine motor skills
Dr. Salcini notes that patients with ALS often complain about sudden onset of general clumsiness, which can occur in the first stage of the disease. Typically muscles of extremitites, diaphragm, throat and face are invloved. That is why, the patients can experience difficulties in fine motor skills such as turning a key in the lock, combing hair, using a computer mouse, or writing with a pen. They feel weakness of muscles and fail to do those routine actions. ALS starts with simple complaints and can progress to thinning of those muscles, and even problems with breathing.
Swallowing and speaking
The doctor highlights that sometimes the disease ALS can start with swallowing difficulties or unclear speech, mimic disfunctions. It means that nasal and facial muscles are involved. Those patients may be disturbed by a hoarse voice, called dysphonia, a slurred speech, a difficulty in swallowing, tongue spasms or cramps.
They say that the ALS is of a genetic origin. It is not true. ALS can be caused by numerous factors including genetic one. However, family medical history is not a death sentence. If your family member has got the ALS, it does not necessarily mean that you’ll be granted with it. A family factor does not play a leading role in occuring of the ALS. Thus, we can't say that ALS has got a genetic or an autoimmune nature.
Cure for ALS
Dr. Celal Salcini points out that, unfortunately, there is no ultimate cure for ALS patients yet. However, he also adds that those patients are in need of regular close follow-ups and sufficient neurological care. Only a specialist can decide on what kind of treatment a patient neeeds, since symptoms can varry and differ. Some may have difficulty in swallowing, while others fail to comb their hair or speak. Sometimes the disease may also involve the diaphragm muscles, which lead to respiratory failure. Neurological care should include established diagnostics and close follow-ups, balanced nutrition and physical rehabilitation. There is no way to get rid of the ALS, but there is still a real possibility to live a full life, and the patients should take an advantage of what modern medicine can offer.