Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: What is it and how to treat it?

One of them is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which attacks the neurons in the brain and spinal cord, as well as those that go from the spinal cord to the muscles, responsible for transmitting the messages from the brain that make movement possible. 

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The National Library of Medicine explains that ALS is a disease of the nervous system that initially causes muscle problems, causes mild muscle problems problems that prevent the person from person from performing everyday tasks such as walking or running, writing or talking.

Gradually, the patient loses strength and cannot move. When the chest muscles begin to fail, breathing becomes difficult and most sufferers die of respiratory failure.

Causes of ALS

Mayo Clinic notes that the exact the exact cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, although in a small number of cases it is hereditary.

It usually strikes between 40 and 60 years of age, and is more common among men than women. Generally occurs randomly.. There is no cure, but medications and especially continuous rehabilitation therapies can alleviate symptoms and prolong survival.

One in 10 cases of ALS is due to a genetic defect, affecting approximately five out of every 100,000 people worldwide.

Main symptoms

Although symptoms usually do not occur until after the age of 50, they can also occur in younger people. 

Sufferers of ALS have a loss of muscle strength and coordination that, over time, worsens and makes it impossible to perform routine activities such as climbing stairs, getting out of a chair or eating. As the disease worsens, more muscle groups develop problems.

It does not affect the senses, and most people are able to think normally.

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Rehabilitation options

The primary objective of neurorehabilitation neurorehabilitation treatment consists of prolong functional capacitypromote independence and offer the patient the highest quality of life highest quality of life possible.

The treatment is divided into three clinical phases with different stages, in which the objectives pursued vary according to the patient's clinical situation, tolerance to treatment and the evolutionary prognosis.

When the patient is independentWhen the patient is independent, the treatment consists of performing exercises that maintain joint balances and strengthen the non-deficient musculature.

  • When the person can ambulateThe treatment aims to maintain muscle strength, avoid disuse atrophy, maintain joint balances and avoid musculotendinous retractions, even if the person has moderate weakness and has difficulty in performing certain activities such as climbing stairs, dressing or lifting arms.
  • When the person can only move can only move short distances: the goal of therapy is to maintain maximum functional independence, considering that he/she is dependent for basic activities of daily living.
  • With a patient partially dependentwho is still able to ambulate for short distances, although practically wheelchair-bound, pain and joint retraction may occur.
  • When the muscle weakness is moderate to severe: and the patient needs assistance for transfers, pressure ulcers and joint retractions secondary to mobility deficit may occur.
  • When the person is totally dependentThe patient needs passive mobilization to avoid joint deformities. Also clinically manifested are dysphagia, language disorders (dysarthria) and respiratory problems that may require noninvasive ventilatory assistance or a tracheotomy for mechanical support.

The treatment should be approached from an interdisciplinary interdisciplinary point of view and should not only contemplate medical carebut also the appropriate appropriate technical aids in terms of communication, mobility and home support, as well as the training and preparation of the main caregiver and the family, until the terminal stage.

The contribution of TrainFES for ALS patients

The multidisciplinary team of TrainFESThe multidisciplinary team, made up of physiatrists, kinesiologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists, has experience in treating patients with ALS in its different stages.

In addition to this technological innovations such as functional electrostimulation (FES), which, through gentle electrical currents applied to the muscles, can help contract the muscles in order to recover movements, motor functions and muscle strength and muscle strength lost or impaired by the diagnosis.

In the context of rehabilitation in patients with ALSthe FES can be useful for specific goals in certain stages of the disease, such as improve muscle function and delay atrophy in some cases. atrophy in some cases.

In patients with mild compromiseIn patients with mild compromise, treatment with kinesiologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and pelvic floor specialists allows for improvements such as:

  • Maintain or recover muscle strength and endurance.
  • Optimize motor function and mobility.
  • Maintain and improve independence in activities of daily living.
  • Monitor and maintain speech and communication function.
  • Evaluate and prevent swallowing problems.
  • Implement management and prevention strategies for urinary and/or fecal incontinence.

In people with moderate compromise they may address muscle weakness and spasticity, adapt the exercise program to maintain residual function and mobility, implement the use of orthoses and assistive devices or adapt daily activities and the environment to facilitate independence, as well as work on optimizing speech and communication.

In patients with severe compromise measures will be implemented to maintain function and residual mobility in the extremities, prevent contractures or deformities, generate respiratory care and secretion management techniques, evaluate and monitor swallowing, and consider the need for more invasive interventions, such as a gastrostomy tube.

The TrainFES rehabilitation methodology includes the evaluation and constant accompaniment of the most appropriate professionals, who will implement a program using functional electrostimulation technology with a view to symptoms, relieve pain and improve quality of life, depending on the circumstances.depending on the circumstances.


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