April 28, 2006, Newsletter Issue #4: The Visit To The Family Doctor

Tip of the Week

The first step in diagnosing ALS begins with a visit to your family doctor. It is important to consult your family doctor when you start to have any unexplained symptoms, especially symptoms of muscle weakness, stiffness, or fatigue.

Your family doctor will ask general questions, such as “When did you first notice the problems you are having?” or “Have you experienced this before?” It is important to answer truthfully, and your family doctor will next complete a physical exam of the areas you are having difficulties with.

The physical examination will provide more information than what you are able to tell your doctor. It will be similar to other physical exams in the past. For example, the family doctor will check routine things such as your blood pressure. Routine tests might be ordered as well and a referral is made to a neurologist. However, it is important as the symptoms worsen before you see the neurologist, to inform your family doctor.

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