Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease in which special nerve cells that stimulate motion (called motor neurons) gradually disintegrate. The disintegration of the motor neurons prevents the cells from delivering chemical signals that muscles depend on for normal development and activity. This disease is often called "Lou Gehrig's disease" after the famous New York Yankee baseball player who died from ALS in 1941.
Those who suffer from ALS will eventually lose the ability to walk, talk, and finally to breathe. However, it is believed that throughout this progression, their mental faculties remain unaffected. Generally the disease progresses to involve muscles all over the body, resulting in complete paralysis. ALS is usually fatal.
Home Medical Equipment for ALS Patients
ALS has been described as "having a ringside seat at your own self-destruction" as the relentless parade of disabling symptoms marches on. Although the rate of deterioration varies, there is an unfortunate predictability to the sequence of physical decline. As a rule, the first time an ALS patient seeks help with equipment is for some adaptive living aids such as eating utensils, cups with handles, dressing aids, etc. Sometime later, he may return for bath safety products, a lift chair, and perhaps a wheelchair for long distances. From that point, he becomes dependent on a wheelchair for all mobility. Eventually, he is unable to sit at a 90-degree angle and requires the use of a power chair. At this point, the customer may also need a hospital bed. Finally, as the patient approaches the last stages of life and loses the ability to control his breathing, an array of respiratory equipment and supplies.