By Courtney Bethel | Posted - Aug 3rd, 2020





Diagnosing and Treating ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, can be diagnosed through a variety of testing, in addition to a review of medical history.

Diagnostic tests for ALS may include but are not limited to:

  • X-rays
  • Electro-diagnostic tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Laboratory tests including blood and urine studies and thyroid functioning tests
  • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis also known as a spinal tap
  • Nerve biopsy
  • Muscle biopsy

While amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has no cure at the moment. There are FDA-approved drugs, that extend survival and quality of life. 

  • Rilutek
  • Several clinical studies are being held to find other medications to improve quality of life and slow down ALS progression

Laura Ranumh, PhD who has studied ALS for over 20 years, says patients suffering from ALS can maximize their abilities and be made more comfortable with the following treatment or therapeutic options:

  • Medications to relieve painful muscle cramps, excess salivation, and other symptoms
  • Heat or whirlpool therapy to relieve muscle cramping
  • Exercise, though recommended in moderation, to help maintain muscle strength and function
  • Physical therapy to maintain mobility and ease the discomfort of muscle stiffness, cramps and fluid retention
  • Nutritional counseling to promote optimal calories and dietary balance and to offer diet-based help when swallowing becomes difficult
  • Speech therapy to maintain as many verbal communication skills as possible and communication training to offer non-verbal techniques
  • Devices such as splints, corrective braces, grab bars, reach-extenders, etc. to help with daily activities such as dressing, eating, using the toilet and bathing
  • Special equipment such as wheelchairs, electric beds or mattresses to maximize functional independence

For more info on ALS please visit:  

Courtney Bethel
About the Author

Courtney Bethel - Courtney is an ALS patient and caregiver supporter and writer for ALS Crowd.