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RDowney

New member
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
1
Reason
CALS
Country
US
State
NY
City
Rochester
Hello,

My father was diagnosed with ALS in October of 2008. He has been having problems for about a year and half before that, but his primary care physician thought that everything was pulmonary related. My father had a lot of shortness of breath and weakness and it was finally the Pulmonologist that thought something else was going on and sent him to a Neurologist.

Based on the physical exam and EMG findings the doctor told him he was pretty certain he has ALS. My father has lot a lot of weight, has weakness, shortness of breath, and muscle fasiculations. He does not have any problems with his gait or dropping things yet. The Neurologist also said it didn't appear that he was having any problems above the neck yet either.

The Neuro did an MRI last week with some pretty significant findings, but I'm not sure what this all means. The MRI showed that he has severe cervical degenerative arthritis. Has anyone here been diagnosed with both ALS and degenerative arthritis? Has anyone here been diagnosed at first with ALS and then found to only have degenerative arthritis? I have my question to the doctor has his response below. If anyone could weigh in I would greatly appeciate it.

Question to doctor:

Could the bones that are fused in his neck cause some of his ALS symptoms? Or does he have both ALS and bones in his neck that are fused (two seperate issues)?

Answer:

This is a good question. Your father definitely has siginificant degenerative arthritis in his neck with multiple levels of foraminal narrowing on both sides. The two cervical vertebrae have ‘autofused’ which occurs after years and years of degenerative disc disease. Despite these significant findings, your father has EMG findings and physical exam findings that go beyond the neck however. For this reason, it is quite difficult to differentiate the two. In these situations, it is paramount that we continue to follow him and examine him closely. For this reason, it will be imperative for him to follow up with me in clinic.
 

CindyM

Moderator emeritus
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
3,543
Reason
Learn about ALS
Country
US
State
New England
City
Anytown
Hello R Downey and welcome to the forum although I am sorry to hear about your Dad. You landed in a good spot on the Internet, though, as folks around here are really helpful and this site has a lot of good information about how to cope.

Sounds like your Dad has 2 conditions. Can't blame you for hoping they have made a mistake about the ALS! Hopefully your instincts will prove correct. Keep us informed, OK? Warmly, Cindy
 
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