ALS is a nervous system disease that affects voluntary muscles in the body. Know the symptoms of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in women as well as get causes and treatments of it.
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is neurodegenerative diseases which affects people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. To know the symptoms of ALS in women, refer the following article.
ALS usually hits the people between the ages 40 to 60 years and there are many causes of it. It is a nervous system ailment that attacks nerve cells named neurons in your brain and spinal cord. These neurons transmit messages from brain and spinal cord to voluntary muscles such as arms and legs. At first mild muscle problems are caused by ALS such as muscle twitching and weakness in an arm or leg, or with slurring of speech. Ultimately you lose your strength and cannot move. When muscles in the chest fail, you cannot breathe and a ventilator can help but most people with ALS die from respiratory failure.
Around 5 to 10% of ALS cases are inherited and it is a slow invading disease. The diagnosis is often delayed which limits the treatment options due to the slow onset of the disease. There are three different types of ALS. First type is known as sporadic and occurs in 90 percent to 95 percent of cases. The second type is called familial, indicates a genetic strain of the disease. If two or more people in a family suffer from ALS, there are likely to be subsequent cases within the same family. The third, Guamanian, is more prevalent in Guam and countries in the Pacific region.
Amyotrophic word is derived from Greek words, 'A' means no or negative, 'myo' referring muscle and 'tropic' means nourishment. Therefore, the word amyotrophic fundamentally means 'no muscle nourishment'. The word lateral refers to the area in the spinal cord wherein neurons or nerve cells that nourish the muscles are situated. It leads to scarring, hardening or sclerosis of the region because of this area it gets degenerated due to no nourishment. Hence it is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the upper and lower motor neurons and leads to slow degeneration of the motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord.
Causes of ALS in Women
A person’s immune system start attacking some of his or her body's own normal cells sometimes and scientists have wondered that such antibodies may trigger the process that results in ALS.
People who have ALS typically their normal levels of glutamate are higher than normal. Glutamate is the chemical messenger in the brain, in their spinal fluid. Too much glutamate is known to be toxic to some nerve cells.
For producing a strong antioxidant enzyme that protects your cells from damage caused by free radicals, the byproducts of oxygen metabolism, the inherited form of ALS frequently involves a mutation in a gene is responsible.
Symptoms of ALS in Women
- Difficulty in Walking: Some other symptoms of ALS which surface at an early stage are imbalance, tripping and falling. As the muscles of leg become weak, they cannot support the body weight that eventually results in falling or tripping.
- Dysphagia: Dysphagia is a difficulty in ingesting food or liquids. Dysphagia is also attributable to the weakness of voluntary muscles of throat and mouth.
- Muscle Weakness: The first signs of disease are showed through the malfunctioning of muscles as the disease attacks motor neurons, which are responsible for the movement of the body. Unusual muscle fatigue and weakness, sometimes accompanied with muscle pain are experienced by the person. At this stage, muscle cramps are also common. The person is incapable to move arms, which further degenerate the motor neurons. The person finds it increasingly complicated to do daily tasks like dressing, washing, etc.
- No Control over Expressions: The person loses control over the expressions like laughing or crying because the voluntary muscles begin to slow down their function. If he starts laughing at some point, then he may be unable to stop it for a long time.
- Complete Loss of Movements: The person completely loses her ability to move muscles at this stage. The person is often bed ridden with a continuous need of supervision. To perform her daily tasks, she is greatly dependent upon others.
- Slurred Speech: The person is unable to speak clearly as this disease affects the motor neurons responsible for speech. As a result, the speech is slurred.
- Breathing Difficulty: As the muscles of lung begin to weaken, the person experiences shortness of breath. This may give rise to various respiratory infections like pneumonia. For the rest of her life the person may have to be kept on ventilation. This is usually the last stage of the progression of the disease. Even with the aid of ventilator, the person still finds it difficult to thrive and usually succumbs to death.
There is no treatment designed to ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with this disorder. Treatments include - medications can help to decrease fatigue, ease muscle cramps, and lessen pain. For ALS, there is a specific medication Rilutek. It does not repair the damage already done to the body but it appears to be modestly effective in prolonging the survival of people with ALS. People with ALS are able to communicate for as long as possible through physical therapy, special equipment, and speech therapy. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, generally within 3 to 5 years of the diagnosis but around 10% of people diagnosed with ALS survive for 10 or more years.
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