Nutritional and Metabolic Support in Adults With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable, degenerative, neuromuscular condition. Nutritional and metabolic support is an integral component of care for patients with ALS because those capable of maintaining a normal nutrition status exhibit a slower rate of disease progression. Although there are multiple barriers to maintaining a normal nutrition ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2013
Nutritional and Metabolic Support in Adults With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michelle McDonagh
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center, Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
  • Disclosure: Michelle McDonagh has no financial or non-financial relationships related to the content of this article.
    Disclosure: Michelle McDonagh has no financial or non-financial relationships related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2013
Nutritional and Metabolic Support in Adults With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2013, Vol. 22, 12-16. doi:10.1044/sasd22.1.12
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2013, Vol. 22, 12-16. doi:10.1044/sasd22.1.12

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable, degenerative, neuromuscular condition. Nutritional and metabolic support is an integral component of care for patients with ALS because those capable of maintaining a normal nutrition status exhibit a slower rate of disease progression. Although there are multiple barriers to maintaining a normal nutrition status, the multidisciplinary team approach can facilitate early identification of symptoms, early intervention, and better outcomes for these patients. Barriers that patients often encounter include dysphagia, hypermetabolism, hypometabolism, upper extremity weakness, early satiety, constipation, depression, and loss of appetite. The role of the registered dietitian in the multidisciplinary ALS clinic is to intervene by providing a high standard of nutrition support. Further research into other facets of nutrition for ALS could lead to new interventions to slow weight loss and provide evidence-based guidelines for nutrition professionals. Areas for further research include the use of appetite stimulants, dietary supplements, delayed gastric motility, diet composition, metabolic rate, and the development of a standard equation for estimation of caloric needs in ALS.

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