Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

Learn the Stages and Symptoms of ALS from Hillendale Home Care

symptoms of ALSReceiving a diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) can bring up a lot of questions and concerns, for both the individual diagnosed and his or her family members. What causes ALS? What are the symptoms of ALS now, and how will they change in the years to come? Where can I go to find needed support?

As many as 30,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with ALS, and nearly 5,600 new patients are diagnosed with the disease every year. And although the ultimate cause is unclear, some studies point to puzzling risk factors, such as a doubled risk of ALS in veterans who served during the Gulf War

Although each person can experience ALS differently from others, the progression of the disease does seem to follow certain stages. Understanding these stages can help those with ALS and those who care for them implement the most appropriate plan of care.

Early Stages

  • Symptoms of ALS may be noticed only in a one particular area of the body
  • However, milder symptoms may affect more than that one region
  • For some individuals, the first affected muscles are those used for speaking, swallowing or breathing

Possible Symptoms:

  • Poor balance
  • Fatigue
  • Slurring of speech
  • Weakened grip
  • Stumbling when walking

Middle Stages

  • Some particular muscles may be paralyzed, while others are weakened or completely unaffected
  • Symptoms of ALS are now more widespread
  • Twitching may be evident

Possible Symptoms:

  • Challenges in standing up unassisted
  • Trouble with eating and swallowing, which can result in choking
  • Difficulty breathing, especially when lying down
  • Possible uncontrolled and inappropriate laughing or crying, known as the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)

Late Stages

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

Possible Symptoms:

  • Paralysis in most voluntary muscles
  • Breathing is severely compromised, resulting in fatigue, unclear thinking, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
  • Mobility is severely impacted

Receiving care from a professional in-home caregiver, such as Hillendale Home Care of Walnut Creek, California provides, can improve quality of life for individuals during any stage of ALS. Our professional caregivers work with families to create an individualized plan of care, allowing those experiencing symptoms of ALS to maintain dignity and the highest possible level of independence at all times. Interested in becoming a caregiver for Hillendale? Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.

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