Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou Gehrig was a famous American baseball player stricken with the disease in the early 1940s. The disease causes progressive damage to the neuromuscular system, causing muscle weakness, limited mobility, eventual disability and death. As the disease progresses, individuals may be unable to control muscular movement, the ability to eat and speak, and the body experiences difficulty.
Medications - Medications are designed to help slow the progression of the disease. Most medications are created to reduce glutamate levels in the brain, a chemical messenger. Medications may also be prescribed to help relieve some common symptoms of the disease process including pain, muscle cramps, excess production of saliva or phlegm, as well as to treat depression. Some of the most common medications prescribed for treatment of ALS include:
Therapy - Physical and occupational therapy may help individuals maintain muscle strength and coordination as well as range of motion. An occupational therapist helps individuals learn how to use assistive devices such as wheelchairs or walkers. Such individuals help those diagnosed with ALS to adapt their homes and environments to increase mobility and independence. Speech therapists may also help maintain speaking, chewing and mouth strength and coordination.
Stem cell therapy - tests and research is still underway in the use of embryonic and adult stem cell therapies and treatments for ALS. Research has determined that embryonic stem cells are capable of developing into dopaminergic neurons, vital for normal neuromuscular function.
However, to date, very few clinical trials involving bone marrow or cord blood stem cell therapies in individuals diagnosed with ALS have been published.
Patients seeking medications or therapeutic services for the treatment of ALS should take the time to research various medical facility destinations and services offered to determine efficacy of treatments, whether stem-cell based, or alternative medicine-based, such as through Ayurvedic or other natural approaches. Discuss such treatments with a primary care provider for more detailed information regarding benefits of pursuing such avenues of help for dealing with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
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