Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) | Neurology | Loyola Medicine

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Comprehensive Approach to Diagnose and Manage 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, management of ALS and beyond.

While there currently is no cure for ALS, Loyola Medicine can help you manage symptoms and minimize the impact to your daily life as much as possible. We continue to participate in research and clinical trials to understand the disease and, one day, identify a cure.

Why Choose Loyola for ALS Care?

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.

The multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive care and education from diagnosis through disease progression. The goal is to improve patients' quality of life using multiple specialists, mental health support, respiratory support, exercise and nutrition counseling.

Working together, neurologists and pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists as well as speech and swallowing specialists create an individual plan of care and provide support for patients and caregivers. We help patients manage their symptoms and improve quality of life.

As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in medicine.

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:

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

Specialized Services and Care for ALS

The specialists at Loyola Medicine provide comprehensive services to support patients with ALS. We are committed to developing the plan that is right for you, supporting you and your caregivers as the disease progresses.

Our goal is to help you manage your symptoms and live the best quality of life. Services may include: