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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a progressive nervous system disorder affecting the central nervous (brain and spinal cord) that causes loss of muscle control or motor activities. ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, often begins with muscle twitching, limb weakness, or slurred speech. ALS eventually affects muscle control to limit movement, eat, speak, and breathe. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatment has recently seen a significant improvement with alternative therapies like stem cell therapy. Let us discuss more ALS and its treatment.

Symptoms of ALS ( Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis )

  • Difficulty in walking or daily activities
  • Weakness in lower limbs
  • Upper limb weakness and clumsiness
  • Slurred speech and swallowing trouble
  • Muscle cramps and twitching
  • Cognitive and behavioral changes

Generally, there’s no pain in the early ALS stages and it doesn’t affect bladder control.

Causes of ALS

ALS is generally 5% to 10% inherited but the rest cases are unknown. ALS causes motor neurons to deteriorate gradually and die. Upon getting damaged, motor neurons stop sending messages to the muscles from the brain, thus leading to loss of muscle function. The common risk factors of ALS are:

  • Most common between 40 and the mid-60s.
  • Men develop ALS slightly more than women.
  • Some genetic variations related to familial and non-inherited ALS might make people more susceptible.
  • Environmental toxin exposure. 

Treatment of ALS

Conventional ALS treatments cannot reverse the neural damage but they generally slow down the progression of symptoms and prevent complications. Suggested FDA-approved medications for ALS are:

  • Riluzole- This oral drug has been shown to increase life expectancy by 3-6 months. Side effects are gastrointestinal and hepatic in nature. Blood count and liver functions should be monitored well during this drug dosage.
  • Edaravone- This intravenous infusion drug has improved daily functioning. Side effects include headache, bruising, breath shortness, etc.
  • Some medications might be advised by the doctor to provide relief from muscle cramps and spasms, constipation, fatigue, pain, sleep problems, etc.

Rehabilitation Therapy for ALS has been of much use for patients as these therapies help in improving daily activities in the patients with natural means. Some common rehab therapies are:

  • Breathing care or mechanical ventilation.
  • Physical therapy to maintain muscle strength and range of motion.
  • Regular exercise and appropriate stretching to prevent pain and help muscle functioning.
  • Occupational therapy with adaptive equipment help in performing daily activities.
  • Speech therapy to explore means of communication with adaptive techniques.
  • Nutritional support to ensure easy swallowing foods with nutrition value.

Recent advancements in therapy for ALS have brought regenerative medicine into the picture. As compared to a conventional treatment regime that supports reducing ALS symptoms, stem cell therapy ensures the potential of neural and muscle tissue repair to reverse ALS damage. Stem cell therapy is an experimental therapy and although it does not yet lead to a complete cure, damage reversal by tissue regeneration and repair is definitely pushing the condition towards a potential cure. Stem cell therapy has shown ALS progression delay besides increasing life expectancy. Many ALS patients have also experienced an improvement in motor movements and stamina with stem cell therapy. For more information and a free medical consultation on ALS and stem cell therapy, contact info@advancells.com