Lou Gehrig's disease
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
What is ALS?
- Amyotrophic = no muscle nourishment
- Lateral = the area of the spinal cord that signals and controls the muscles
- Sclerosis = scarring or hardening
The motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements like walking, reaching for something, etc. and muscle control.
Muscular: cramping, muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, loss of muscle, muscle quiver, or overactive reflexes
Respiratory: shortness of breath or shortness of breath on lying down
Speech: vocal cord spasm or impaired voice
Whole body: fatigue or feeling faint
Also common: apathy, difficulty swallowing, drooling, lack of restraint, severe unintentional weight loss, tremor, or difficulty raising the foot
Tests and Disgnosis
ALS is difficult to diagnose early because it may appear similar to several other neurological diseases.
- Electromyogram (EMG).During an EMG, your doctor inserts a needle electrode through your skin into various muscles. The test evaluates the electrical activity of your muscles when they contract and when they're at rest.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using radio waves and a powerful magnetic field, an MRI can produce detailed images of your brain and spinal cord.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). Sometimes a specialist may remove a sample of your spinal fluid for analysis. In this procedure, a specialist inserts a small needle between two vertebrae in your lower back and removes a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing in the laboratory.
- Blood test: a doctor may use blood tests to check for the enzyme creatine kinase which leaks out of damaged muscle. Blood tests can also be used for genetic testing to detect hereditary ALS.
Treatment and Prognosis
American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. delivered a farewell speech on July 4, 1939 due to ALS complications.
physicist, cosmologist. diagnosed with all at age 21.
Producer of Sesame Street. Created Cookie Monster and Big Bird. died from ALS at the age of 65.
ALS is inherited in 5 to 10 percent of cases. The other cases appear to occur randomly.Possible causes of ALS include: gene mutation, chemical imbalance, disorganized immune response.