Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurological disease that can progress rapidly, making early diagnosis and prompt treatment particularly important. At The Neurology Institute in Coral Springs and Sunrise, Florida, the team of multispecialty experts provides comprehensive ALS care, from initial testing and diagnosis to treatments that slow disease progression. Book your appointment online or call the office nearest you to schedule your visit today.
ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons — nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord.
With ALS, the motor neurons deteriorate and die over time, preventing the brain from sending the signals that control voluntary muscle movements. About 66% of people with ALS have classical ALS, which affects the upper and lower motor neurons.
The upper motor neurons in your brain and spinal cord transmit messages to the lower motor neurons. The lower motor neurons in the brainstem and spinal cord receive upper neuron messages and direct muscle movements.
Less common forms of ALS include progressive bulbar palsy, which mainly affects the upper and lower motor neurons in the mouth and throat; progressive muscular atrophy in the lower motor neurons; and primary lateral sclerosis in the upper motor neurons.
Up to 95% of all ALS cases are known as sporadic ALS, with no known cause. It happens randomly, with no obvious risk factors and no genetic influence.
Around 5% of cases are familial ALS, which occurs in people with ALS in their immediate family. With familial ALS, either your mother or father (or, rarely, both) have ALS as well.
ALS symptoms include:
ALS can have mental and emotional effects as well. Some people with ALS become depressed or anxious as they lose their ability to function normally. About 20% of people with ALS also experience dementia.
ALS diagnosis starts with a physical exam, neurological exam, and medical history review. The team usually conducts lab tests, electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction tests to evaluate muscles and nerves, and imaging tests like MRI scans.
The Neurology Institute performs most tests on-site.
To treat ALS, several specialists coordinate to help relieve your symptoms and delay the progression of the disease.
The Neurology Institute has all of these specialists in one place, including neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavioral health specialists, and other medical experts to help you have the best quality of life.
Call The Neurology Institute office nearest you or click the online scheduler to book your ALS assessment now.