Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) | Neurology | Loyola Medicine

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Comprehensive Approach to Diagnose and Treat ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Loyola Medicine offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS affects about five out of every 100,000 people worldwide. With ALS, nerve cells die off and can no longer send messages to voluntary muscles like your legs and arms. Over time, this progressive condition results in muscle twitching, weakness and loss of movement in the arms, legs and body.  About one in every 10 cases of ALS are due to a gene mutation. Symptoms usually don’t appear until after age 50, but can occur in younger people.

If you or a loved is experiencing symptoms that may be due to ALS, you want an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. Our dedicated team will determine what is causing your symptoms and deliver the highest quality of care. Loyola’s compassionate team will guide you through diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

Why Choose Loyola for Treatment of ALS?

Loyola’s compassionate team understands that ALS can be life-changing not only for the patient, but also for family members. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families.

As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery. Our neurologists are board certified in clinical neurophysiology and are experts in performing nerve conduction studies and EMG to correctly diagnose ALS. Our neuro intensive care unit is equipped with continuous EEG and video monitoring and is staffed by certified technologists and trained neurology nurses, who have earned Magnet status.

How is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Diagnosed?

Currently there is no single test to diagnose ALS. Your Loyola doctor will take a detailed personal and medical history and conduct physical and neurological exams, then run tests to exclude other possible conditions. Your doctors may order the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Brain CT scan (computed tomography)
  • Breathing test
  • Cervical spine MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Genetic testing
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Myelogram of cervical spine
  • Swallowing studies

How is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treated?

Treatment for ALS aims to help you manage your symptoms and live the best quality of life. Your treatment may include: