Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, can be a very difficult condition to live with, and over a period of time can severely impact a person’s driving abilities. For this reason, it is very important for family members and caregivers to monitor the patient’s condition, and step in to take away car keys when these skills are severely impacted to prevent accident risks.
The ALS Association is marking ALS Awareness Month, and is drawing attention to this much-feared, but little known-about condition. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare condition that can over a period of time lead to cognitive, physical and movement limitations. The symptoms of ALS can progress very quickly. The average person who is diagnosed with ALS dies within a period of 5 years after receiving a diagnosis. The disease can progress very quickly, exacerbating the limitations it imposes, especially those involving the person’s physical and cognitive abilities.
Because ALS is a condition that progresses so quickly, it is very important for family members to make decisions about the patient’s independence, especially his mobility and driving, after a diagnosis. Those abilities could worsen quickly as the disease progresses. Last year, one study found that patients who suffered from mild to moderate progression of the disease could continue driving safely. That study found that in spite of the weaknesses in movement and cognition that these drivers suffered, their driving abilities were on par with other persons who did not suffer from the disease. However, even in that study, the researchers warned that the findings of the study should not be taken to mean that patients with ALS can drive safely and without restrictions.