What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)?
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease when the nerve cells controlling the muscles die. This degenerative disease causes a loss of connection between the living wires that connect the brain to the body’s muscles. As a result this can lead to a loss of mobility, speech, and eventually limit one’s breathing ability. Currently, there is no cure or effective treatment for ALS. This disease affects many Canadians, as there are about 2500-3000 people in Canada living with ALS. In addition, there are a total of 1000 new diagnoses per year in Canada. The most common form of ALS is called Sporadic ALS which can affect all age groups.
Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Symptoms of this disease are progressive and include having difficulties walking and moving around. Shortness of breath is another common symptom, as well as coughing when eating or drinking. Symptoms vary as not all patients will experience the same effects throughout their body.
Early symptoms include pain, feeling weak, experiencing fatigue and muscle cramping and twitching. Drooling is very common for those with ALS as their muscles progressively weaken over time. In addition, weight loss, slurred speech, and dropping things are early signs of ALS.
Lastly, depression is commonly experienced for those living with ALS as studies show that 0 to 44% of patients with ALS experience depression as a result of living with this disease.
How to Diagnose ALS?
Diagnosing ALS is difficult to do as there is no single test available to diagnose this disease. There are numerous diagnostic tests that must be done to rule out other disease before concluding that the patient has ALS. These tests include electromyography (EMG) tests, blood and urine studies, spinal tap, x-rays, muscle/nerve biopsy, and a neurological examination.
Are There Any Treatments Available for ALS?
As mentioned previously, there is no effective treatment that can cure ALS. However, there are several ways to improve the quality of life for someone living with ALS. These include using a pulmonologist and respiratory therapist who will help to relieve any breathing difficulties one may face.
There are also noninvasive ventilation systems including a mask and small portable machine which will help to assist with inhalation and exhalation. In addition, medication such as the drug called riluzole helps to slow down the disease from progressing, helping to prolong survival for 6 months or more. If taking riluzole, please be aware that one should limit their intake of alcohol to reduce the risk of liver damage.
Eligibility Criteria for Disability Tax Credit for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
To be eligible for this tax credit, a person must be unable to hear, see, talk or walk for over the period of one full year. They can also be eligible if they have difficulty in one of the following daily life activities, such as dressing, self-feeding, functional transfers (getting in and out of a bed or wheelchair), and ambulation (using an assisted device such as a walker).
To apply for this tax credit Form 2201 entitled “Disability Tax Credit Certificate” must be completed by a registered medical practitioner. This tax credit is only available to those who have taxes payable.
The consultants at Disability Credit Consultants can advise you how to claim your credits for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Having obtained the Disability Tax Credit on behalf of past clients, Disability Credit Consultants will be an efficient and effective representative on your behalf.