Bulber Onset ALS?

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Blues1986

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I posted before but this one is really starting to scare me. A couple days ago I began to notice that I was slurring my words. Yesterday I remember at least three times that I slurred. I have had the 'something in the throat' feeling for weeks now and I beginning to wonder if this is Bulber ALS.

I can move my tongue back and forth pretty fast. Is tongue atrophy the reason for slurred speech?

I am 22 but very worried... what do you think?
 

olly

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you would have weakness in the tongue before atrophy shows up.
if you can move your tongue quickly then you have no weakness associated with bulbar als.
 

awieleba

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Did anyone else think you were slurring? I ask because last year when my anxiety about ALS was through the roof, I thought I was slurring..for sure. I would ask my family and they looked at me like I was crazy. I asked my husband, he thought I was crazy. I concluded that I was crazy! If you are really slurring your words, people will tell you or at least ask you if you have been drinking! That is not a joke, some people with bulbar will have been asked if they are drunk when not.

~april
 

BarryG

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April, I was going to ask the same question. When I started to slur my words it was my wife who noticed, not me. And yes, she did think that I had had too much to drink! :p
 

olly

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me too,a friend thought i was drunk once when she came to see me on a bad day even told her husband(would not mind but i am teetotal)
it was only after she spoke to someone who has ms and they were slurring there words she realised her mistake.
my speach goes slurred from time to time when i am too tired or fatigued so i think its not the same as bulbar slurring.:-D
 

Jennifer51

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since I am a non drinker no one thought I was drunk, but several people asked if I had my right teeth in..jokingly, as they know I dont have false teeth. The slurring is not as a result of atrophy, that comes much later. I could still eat normally, although liquids spurted out the wrong way and my tongue was slow when wiggling it. Now over a year later, my tongue has atrophy and is spastic, cant talk and only eat puree food, awaiting peg
 

planningguy

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Quick question. So in ALS is slurring the result of loss of strength in the tongue, loss of coordination due to UMN damage, a combination of these two factors, or some other reason?

Take care,

Robert
 

olly

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hi robert.
i dont know about my slurring,as i said its more when i am fatigued.
but i do have a problem with articulation that i can feel is due to jaw spasms and weakness there that is umn.
my words can come out all gobblediegook,i liken it to speech ataxia.
very occasionally i can start to speak and nothing comes out,a bit wierd.
 

BethU

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Robert ... I would guess slurring is from weakness ... speech is an incredibly precise action, involving tiny movements of the lips, cheeks and tongue. Weakness and incoordination are probably the same thing in disarthria, which is the official name for the speech problem PALS have, along with others, such as stroke victims, Parkinson patients, etc. With disarthria, we all sound the same, no matter what the underlying disease is.

Good luck on your appointment ! Hoping you'll get the right answers.
 

rose

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Robert....

Here is some info that should be helpful to you (and others of course)

Speech has two elements - phonation and articulation.

1. Phonation - the production of sounds, a result of the vocal cords in the larynx.
2. Articulation - contractions of the muscles of the various other structures involved in speech i.e. pharynx, palate, tongue and lips. These muscle contractions change the vocal sounds from the larynx thus resulting in noises recognized as words.

Larynx - produces vowels and some consonants
Lips - produce m, b and p
Lingula - l and t
Throat and soft palate (guttural) - nk and ng

.... so understanding which nerves are responsible for which area helps to understand why there is slurring, and why its not the same type of speech problems for all bulbar challenged people
 
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BethU

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Interesting info, Rose. Thanks for posting that.

My speech therapist had told me the opposite ... that disarthria (the whole spectrum of these speech impediments) was basically the same in all, although not all people would experience the same sequence of function loss. Basically in progressive diseases, she said, slurring can progress to eventually affect all language production, vowels, consanants, and all combinations thereof.

So, hopefully for bulbar onset, it sounds like it is possible for someone to lose the ability to pronounce m b and p, for example, and it could stop there! That's so great .... that means there's hope for people with bulbar onset that they may not lose their entire speech, as I have, only the ability to say a few specific sounds.

I would be delighted to give up nk and ng to get all the rest of my speech back !
 
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rose

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Beth.... I don't think it means that. I think it just means the order might be different for various people. Eventually, if a person has PBP all of the nerves are going to be affected. I still imagine some people might have one nerve/muscle weaker than another, proportionately.

I basically posted that info, to show it isn't just (for example) a weak tongue, or soft palate that affects speech, and how they all must work together in concert to make speech.
 
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KeeKer

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My brother's speech starting slurring because his tongue was swelling. Had bulbar onset.
 

BethU

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thanks, Rose ... that makes sense.

When I was doing speech therapy (and it did work for me for a few months), we'd work on one set of sounds that were giving me trouble, with exercises to "strengthen" whatever was producing the problem, but then other sounds would go, too. It was like a cat chasing his tail. I'd get "ch" good at the beginning of a word, but then couldn't enunciate it at the end of a word.

Before ALS I had no idea how complicated the body was, and how many tiny things have to go right to even smile.
 
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