Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When the nerve cells die, the brain loses its ability to simulate and control muscle movement. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS affects more than 5,000 new patients in the U.S. every year.
Our expert neurologists are dedicated to managing symptoms and controlling disease progression for patients fighting ALS in Kansas City and the surrounding area. Promoting a commitment to evidence-based, interdisciplinary care and services with an emphasis on hope and quality of life, our program has earned recognition from the ALS Association as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence – the only one of its kind in Kansas.
ALS is progressive. It begins with a few barely perceptible symptoms and ends when patients lose the ability to breathe. The disease typically strikes people between ages 40-70 and does not discriminate by gender or race. Life expectancy varies from person to person, but typically ranges from 2-5 years following diagnosis.
Symptoms and risks
Common symptoms of ALS include:
- Muscle weakness in the hands, arms or legs
- Weakness in the muscles that control speaking, swallowing and breathing
- Muscle twitching and cramping, particularly in the hands and feet
- Thick speech and difficulty with voice projection
- Shortness of breath and difficulty with breathing and swallowing
Diagnosis and treatment
There is no single test to confirm ALS, so doctors will use several tools and procedures to accurately determine your diagnosis. These include:
- Full neurological examination
- Electromyography, which records the electrical activity of the muscles
- Nerve conduction studies
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Muscle or nerve biopsy
While there is no cure for ALS, an important goal is to maintain muscle function for as long as possible. Medications and physical therapy can slow the disease's progression, helping you live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. That's our focus in our partnership with you and your family.
ALS treatment in Wichita
Why choose us
- Our fellowship-trained neurologists have more training in the diagnosis and treatment of people with ALS than those at any other hospital in the region.
- We are the only program in Kansas to earn recognition from the ALS Association as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence.
- Our doctors lead and participate in research that one day could result in a cure for the disease.
- We are committed to extending advanced care to as many patients as possible, as conveniently as possible.
What to expect
Seeking ALS treatment at our health system provides the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary care team dedicated to supporting your complete needs with respect to ALS.
You will partner with physicians specially trained to treat ALS. You will benefit from the expertise of experienced professionals including neurologists, psychologists, dietitians, and physical and occupational therapists. This group will together develop a personalized care plan for effectively living with ALS. We offer clinics for patients and families every Monday morning.
Leading research and clinical trials
Learn more about our leaders in ALS treatment and research.