6 Tips for ALS Management and Lifestyle Adaptation

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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1. Managing Secretions

Secretions is a common problem for patients who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but there are treatment options that can help dry out the secretions. Medicines or a suction machine are among them.

2. Sleep Problems

ALS patients may experience sleep issues due to low levels of oxygen or desaturation. It may be helpful for patients to ask their physician to check the levels of desaturation at night. If verified, physicians can recommend an option to support the sleep, including non-invasive ventilation.

3. Non-invasive Ventilation

Non-invasive ventilation machines are used to provide breathing support. Patients use a mask and the machine increases the air flow to the lungs, which results in rest of the muscles and normalization of the blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

4. Weak Cough

A cough assist device can help patients deal with a weak cough and improve their quality of life. In addition, physicians may recommend airway clearance devices to help mobilize secretions before the use of cough assisting devices.

5. Muscle Weakness

ALS patients often experience muscle weakness, while low-impact aerobic exercise can be recommended to strengthen the muscles, improve mental health and decrease fatigue. Exercise for ALS patients is usually guided by a physical therapist, who defines a treatment plan while both physical and occupational therapy are determinant for patients to maintain their overall health.

6. Follow-up

Keeping in touch with the specialized health care team is important for ALS patients. Regular visits to the doctor are recommended every two to three months, during which physicians often use a spirometry to evaluate patients’ lung function.

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ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.