May is ALS Awareness month
Effects Speech » Limits Swallowing » Difficulty Breathing » Malnourishment » Loss of Independence » Depression » Pneumonia
Muscle weakness and atrophy spread through out the body as the disease progresses. Individuals may develop problems with moving, swallowing (dysphagia), speaking or forming words (dysarthria), and breathing (dyspnea). Although sequence of emerging symptoms and rate of disease progression vary from person to person, eventually individuals will not be able to stand or walk, get in or out of bed on their own, bathe unattended, or use their hands and arms.
Individuals with ALS usually have difficulty swallowing and chewing food, which makes it hard to eat. Risk of choking increases. PALS also burn calories at a faster rate than most people and tend to lose weight rapidly, which can lead to becoming malnourished.
Because people with ALS usually retain their ability to perform higher mental processes such as reasoning, remembering, understanding, and problem solving, they are aware of their progressive loss of function and may become anxious and depressed.
Individuals with ALS will have difficulty breathing as the muscles of the respiratory system weaken. They eventually lose the ability to breathe on their own and must depend on a ventilator. Affected individuals also face an increased risk of pneumonia during later stages of the disease.
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