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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a gradual wasting away of nerve cells (motor neurons) in the brain and spinal cord. These nerve cells control the muscles that allow movement. As ALS gets worse, it often becomes harder to walk, speak, eat, swallow, and breathe. But some people live for many years, even decades, after they learn that they have ALS.
Finding out that you have ALS may be overwhelming. You may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. Some treatments for ALS may slow the progress of the disease. There are also medicines to help with symptoms. These include medicines to prevent muscle cramps or stiffness, improve appetite, and relieve depression and pain.
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neuron disease.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: August 25, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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