Bulbar ALS is a condition where the patient with ALS has trouble speaking, chewing and swallowing, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is because the nerves that control those functions deteriorate.
These nerves are found in the patient's brainstem, says the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. ALS is a progressive disease, and a patient with bulbar symptoms at first finds it difficult to eat hard and solid foods. After time, it becomes hard to swallow soft foods and even his own saliva. He also becomes too fatigued to eat and needs to be fed with a tube through his stomach.
Bulbar symptoms are found in about 25 percent of ALS patients, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.