10. Weight Loss
As a degenerative neurological disease, ALS has a significant impact on the nutritional status of patients. Therefore, patients with ALS, especially if presenting dysphagia, have an elevated risk of malnutrition, which in turn, exacerbates the loss of muscle strength and muscle mass that is so prevalent during the evolution of the disease.
The principal mechanisms that are conducive to weight loss in patients with ALS are a reduced caloric intake due to dysphagia and weakness of the arms, which make the ability to ingest food a challenging endeavor. Furthermore, patients experience a rise in energy expenditure due to an elevated metabolic rate as a result of increased respiratory effort.
Weight loss stands as one of the most important independent predictors of the quality of life and survival prognosis of patients affected by ALS as it is directly linked with higher mortality.