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What Can You Expect in Each Stage of ALS?

Different medications surround a syringe, indicating various treatments for each stage of ALS.
Different medications surround a syringe, indicating various treatments for each stage of ALS.
Knowing what to expect in each stage of ALS is key to best managing the disease.

Receiving a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as ALS) can cause plenty of questions and apprehensions, both for the individual diagnosed and their loved ones. What causes ALS? What symptoms might be expected in each stage of ALS? Where am I able to go for support?

Upwards of 30,000 Americans are presently diagnosed as having ALS, and nearly 5,600 new patients are diagnosed with the illness every year. And though the exact cause is not yet determined, some scientific studies point to complicated risk factors, such as a doubled risk of ALS in those who served during the Gulf War.

Even though each individual can be affected by ALS differently from others, the progression of the condition seems to follow particular stages. Gaining information on these phases can help those diagnosed with ALS and those who care for them execute the most appropriate plan of care.

CareFor, the leading provider of home care services in Bee Cave, Austin, San Antonio, and the surrounding area, shares details below:

First Stages

  • For some people, the first impacted muscles are those used for speaking, breathing, or swallowing
  • ALS signs may be detected in just one part of the body
  • Milder symptoms may impact significantly more than this one region

Possible Symptoms:

Middle Stages

  • Indicators of ALS are now more extensive
  • Some specific muscles may be paralyzed, while others are weaker or totally unaffected
  • Twitching might be noticeable

Possible Symptoms:

    • Possible uncontrolled and inappropriate laughing or crying, known as the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)
    • Difficulties standing without assistance
    • Struggles with eating and swallowing, which can cause choking
    • Problems with breathing, particularly when lying down

End Stages

  • The individual can no longer eat or drink by mouth
  • Speaking may no longer be possible
  • The individual with ALS needs full assistance to care for their needs

Possible Symptoms:

    • Mobility is dramatically impacted
    • Breathing is significantly affected, resulting in fatigue, unclear thinking, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
    • Paralysis in the majority of voluntary muscles

Obtaining care from a professional caregiver, like those at CareFor, can increase the quality of life for those impacted by ALS symptoms. Our care providers work with families to develop an individualized plan of care, allowing those experiencing symptoms of ALS to maintain dignity and the greatest level of independence at all times.

Reach out to us any time at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about how our services can help someone you love through each stage of ALS or any other condition.

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