Nr282 Rua Essay

781 Words Aug 5th, 2016 4 Pages

Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Samantha Candela
Chamberlain College of Nursing
NR 283
Professor Hommelson
May 28, 2016
Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is commonly known as ALS. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord (2016). The body’s motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord then to the muscles throughout the body. In ALS the motor neurons slowly degenerate eventually leading to a person’s death. When the motor neurons die our brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. As the neurons die, a person’s body loses voluntary muscle action. This causes people to lose the ability to speak, eat, move
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The survival for ALS is usually between months and decades. On average a patient lives 3 years after symptoms first appear. The degeneration of the neurons causes fasciculation, cramps, muscle atrophy and marked weakness (Coupe, Gordon, 2013). Due to the loss of neurons dementia has occurred in 15% of patients, this causes a shorter survival. Depression and anxiety can also develop at any stage. When a patient first starts developing respiratory failure they will show morning headache, weakened cough, orthopnea and dyspnea (Coupe, Gordon, 2013). A patient then will start to fell short of breath, even at rest, until their death occurs. The first symptom of ALS can be different for each patient. Some may have trouble grasping a pen or lifting a cup of coffee while others may experience a change in vocal pitch when speaking (Coupe, Gordon, 2013). The symptoms can begin in the muscles that control speech and swallowing or in the muscles of the hands, arms, legs, or feet (Coupe, Gordon, 2013). Early symptoms include tripping, dropping objects, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches, and uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying (Coupe, Gordon, 2013). Once the muscles of the respiratory system get affected a patient will need a permanent ventilator support machine to assist with breathing. ALS is very difficult to diagnose because it takes more than one test to

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