Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) can lead to symptoms that affect a number of different systems in the body. Here is information about some of those symptoms, along with medical specialists that can offer treatment.
LEMS primarily affects skeletal muscles or those under voluntary control, leading to weakness in the arms and legs. The disease can also affect the autonomic nervous system or the part of the nervous system that regulates bodily functions. This can lead to the dysfunction of breathing, heart rate, digestion, and other functions. A neurologist specializes in disorders of the nervous system, and can diagnose and treat many of these issues.
More than half of patients with LEMS also have some form of cancer, with small cell lung cancer being the most common. If you are showing signs of LEMS, see an oncologist for cancer screening and treatment.
LEMS can be associated with eye problems such as double vision, droopy eyelids, crossed eyes, dry eyes, and blurry vision. Ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose the dysfunction of the eyes and can recommend treatments or procedures to help improve vision.
A diagnosis of a rare disease such as LEMS, especially if it is accompanied by cancer, can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. A psychologist can help you cope with these feelings and work with you to improve your mental health.
Weakness in the arms and legs can make it difficult to perform daily activities. An occupational therapist can provide strategies to perform these activities in new ways and show how to use adaptive devices that can help with daily activities.
A physical therapist can help manage the physical aspects of muscle weakness. They can show you how to perform exercises and stretches to strengthen the affected muscles and also keep you from losing joint mobility over time. They can come up with a plan to help you exercise without overdoing it, so that you don’t hurt yourself or worsen your symptoms.
Speech and language therapist
You may lose the function of some muscles in the mouth and face as your disease progresses. A speech and language therapist can help you with any problems related to speaking, chewing, and swallowing. They can recommend exercises to improve muscle strength and instruct any family members on how to help you with speaking and eating. They can also teach you how to use communication aids.
Urologist or gynecologist
Because of changes in the autonomic nervous system and psychosocial factors related to LEMS, you may experience sexual dysfunction as a result. A urologist or gynecologist may be able to assist you with treatments that can improve sexual function.
In rare cases, LEMS may also affect the function of your bladder, leading to issues such as feeling like you have to go to the toilet frequently, accidentally wetting yourself, or trouble urinating. A urologist may be able to provide ways to manage these issues.
As LEMS progresses, you may begin to have a hard time breathing. A pulmonologist can work with you to decide on breathing aids, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine when you sleep, a portable oxygen tank during the day, and possibly even a ventilator if your breathing worsens.
If you are having trouble with eating and swallowing, a dietitian can provide you with an appropriate diet plan that may also help reduce inflammation in your body.
Last updated: Jan. 18, 2021
Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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