May 14, 2015

ALSWith no regard for race, gender, or socioeconomic factors, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, can strike anyone, anywhere, including about 30,000 people in the U.S. alone, according to the ALS Association. Typically displaying muscle weakness at its onset, it can initially be confused with a number of other conditions. The stages and symptoms outlined below are a general guideline, and a physician should be consulted as soon as possible for a definitive diagnosis if ALS is suspected.

Early Stages:

  • Symptoms may be limited to a single region of the body
  • Mild symptoms may affect more than one region
  • For some people, the muscles for speaking, swallowing or breathing are the first to be affected

Possible Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor balance
  • Slurred words
  • Weak grip
  • Tripping when walking

Middle Stages:

  • Some muscles are paralyzed, while others are weakened or unaffected
  • Symptoms become more widespread
  • Twitching may continue

Possible Symptoms:

  • Difficulty standing on one’s own
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing – causing choking
  • Finding it hard to breathe, especially when lying down
  • Some people in this stage experience bouts of uncontrolled and inappropriate laughing or crying called the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)

Late Stages:

  • The person with ALS is unable to care for his or her own needs
  • Speech may no longer be possible
  • Eating and drinking by mouth aren’t possible

Possible Symptoms:

  • Most voluntary muscles are paralyzed
  • The ability to move air in and out of the lungs is severely compromised, causing fatigue, fuzzy thinking, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
  • Severely limited mobility

If your loved one struggles with issues related to ALS, Continuum is here every step of the way through each stage, whether the needs are for personal care services such as meal preparation, bathing assistance, and housework, or for nursing services  including assessments, injections, and keeping abreast of changing medical needs. Our team works seamlessly together to provide individualized holistic care for each client’s mind, body and spirit. To learn more about how our St. Louis and St. Charles County home care services can enhance the life of your loved one, call us at 314-863-9912 or 636-861-3336.