Halyard Health and Team Gleason today announced they are teaming up to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS, a terminal neuromuscular disease.
Team Gleason, a non-profit organization that provides leading-edge technology, equipment and services to individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries, was founded by former professional football player Steve Gleason and his wife Michel, according to a press release from Halyard Health.
Through the alliance, Team Gleason will share Steve’s story of his use of the MIC-KEY* Gastrostomy Feeding Tube manufactured by Halyard Health. The MIC-KEY G-Tube’s low-profile design allows it to sit at skin level, making it an easier-to-conceal, more comfortable option than conventional feeding tubes.
According to the ALS Association, more than 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year and about 30,000 people have the disease at any given time. As a person’s condition worsens, they can have difficulty eating because of trouble swallowing, aspiration and choking.
Many patients turn to enteral feeding tubes to help them get the nutrients they need to maintain their weight and energy so they can continue living productive lives as the disease progresses. Feeding tubes can also be used to administer medication, help increase fluid intake, and to reduce the risk of chest infections caused by aspiration.
With enteral feeding, liquid nourishment and medication is delivered by a tube surgically inserted into the stomach. The tube attaches to an extension, which connects to the feeding bottle, bag or pump. Early initial placement of feeding tubes is recommended to reduce complications associated with surgical placement in ALS patients.
Steve was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. In 2013, after struggling to maintain a healthy weight, his doctor recommended an enteral feeding tube to help him get the nourishment he needed. The first feeding tube Steve used was cumbersome, with a long tube that could not be easily concealed. After consulting with others in the ALS community, Steve learned about the MIC-KEY G Feeding Tube.
“The MIC-KEY helps me to get healthy nutrition more easily, and its size and durability allow me to interact freely with Rivers, our four year-old son,” said Steve. “When a person has ALS, there is a significant amount of maintenance, and so every day requires a search for solutions. Through our alliance with Halyard Health, Team Gleason is working to make it easier for ALS patients to find better solutions for their nutritional needs.”