Medical Surgical ALS #5

Question

The charge nurse on a neurologic unit is explaining to the novice nurse about important defining characteristics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ALS. Which characteristic is most specific to ALS?

Answers

  1. Bilateral weakness and paralysis that starts at the feet and quickly progresses up the body until the client is unable to breath on their own
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because bilateral weakness and paralysis that starts at the feet and quickly progresses up the body until the client is unable to breath on their own is most associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). This client often survives and returns from part or all symptoms.

  2. Deterioration of the myelin sheath, which can lead to various levels of paralysis and disability
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because deterioration of the myelin sheath, which can lead to various levels of paralysis and disability is most associated with multiple sclerosis. Gradual muscle twitching, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech that eventually leads to weakness of the muscles to speak, eat, move, and breathe is most associated with ALS.

  3. Gradual muscle twitching, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech that eventually leads to weakness of the muscles to speak, eat, move, and breathe
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because gradual muscle twitching, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech that eventually leads to weakness of the muscles to speak, eat, move, and breathe is most associated with ALS. The client will require assistance to breath by a ventilator due to the disease weakening the diaphragm. Most ALS clients die as a result of respiratory failure. The muscles of the mouth and throat are also weakened so speaking and eating become impossible.

  4. Sudden one-sided weakness, blurred vision, facial drooping, and slurred speech which can lead to sudden death
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because sudden one-sided weakness, blurred vision, facial drooping, and slurred speech, which can lead to sudden death is most associated with stroke. Gradual muscle twitching, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech that eventually leads to weakness of the muscles to speak, eat, move, and breathe is most associated with ALS.

Overview

Gradual muscle twitching, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech that eventually leads to weakness of the muscles to speak, eat, move, and breathe is most associated with ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an accelerating neurogenic disease that negatively affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an accelerating neurogenic disease that negatively affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles. This leads to muscle twitching, atrophy, and weakness which eventually causes immobility and inability to speak, swallow, and breath on their own. As this disease progresses, the voluntary muscles become paralyzed. The client will require assistance to breath by a ventilator due to the disease weakening the diaphragm. Most ALS clients die as a result of respiratory failure. The muscles of the mouth and throat are also weakened so speaking and eating become impossible.

Test Taking Tip

The onset and progression are important details to note to differentiate between disease processes.

Video Rationale