ALS and Respiratory Health—Asking Hard Questions, and Getting Important Answers

The range of emotions someone faces with an ALS diagnosis are as unique as every person is. But while no two people experience exactly the same range of feelings or thoughts, there are some common themes, among them a desire to understand what the future will hold.

For Ken Menkhaus, that meant turning his analytical mind to the task of better understanding ALS. A husband, father, professor of political science and member of The ALS Association national Board of Trustees, Ken was diagnosed with ALS in 2018.

Among the issues Ken wanted to understand better was the impact ALS has on breathing. With the hopes of sharing what he learned with others facing ALS, Ken allowed The ALS Association to bring cameras along on his fact-finding journey to understand more about the impact of ALS on his respiratory health and the kinds of decisions he and his family will face as the disease progresses.

The ALS Association has gathered Ken’s entire series of conversations on their website, as well as other resources for people living with ALS and their families to better understand symptoms and help improve quality of life. Here is Ken’s conversation with Dr. Lou Libby, Pulmonologist at The Providence ALS Center at the Oregon Clinic, discussing the muscles we use to breathe, and the importance of having a care plan and a pulmonologist as part of the care team for a person with ALS:

How ALS Affects Breathing – Addressing Respiratory Changes in ALS

Thank you to Ken for allowing us all to come along on your journey and sharing these important conversations with the ALS community. As always, if you have questions about your respiratory health consult with your care team and your ALS Care Service Coordinator. If you are living with ALS and you don’t yet have a Care Service Coordinator, register with our Chapter today.

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