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Understanding Als (Lou Gehrig's Disease) Essay

642 words - 3 pages

Research essay (ALS)

An individual diagnosed with a terminal illness has one major battle to fight. Families of terminally ill patients suffer significant effects related to an illness, forcing some households to have large debts and making them unable to afford food and other necessaries. One specific terminal illness is called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a disease affecting the human nervous system like the brain, muscles, and spinal cord. It is a deadly disease that cripples and kills its victims. ALS is a terminal illness that is characterized by specific symtoms and has treatments.

People first need to know what ALS is. ALS is very difficult to diagnose. So far there is no test or procedure to fully diagnose ALS. No test can definitely establish if the disease is present. A diagnosis includes, electrodiagnostic tests including electomyography (EMG) which measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction, theres also nerve conduction velocity (NCV) which is By checking your muscle strength, your deep tendon reflexes, there’s also blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals, then there’s spinal tap, x-rays that include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), then myelogram of cervical spine, muscle and/or nerve biopsy, and thorough neurological examination (ALS Association). All of this goes back to diagnosing ALS.

In addition, people need to know the symptoms of ALS. In ALS, there is deterioration to a point that all movement, including breathing, stops. Muscle weakness first develops in the muscles, such as the hands, and spreads through other muscles closer to the brain. Such early symptoms as this can hardly be noticed. Early symptoms of ALS are very slight and often overlooked. They begin as simple things such as tripping or dropping things. Twitching or cramping of muscles and fatigue of the arms and legs may soon follow causing difficulty in daily activities such as walking or dressing (ALS...

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