Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease is not a very common disease to get. Only about 1 out of 10 cases are genetic others cases just appear out of nowhere. ALS is pretty rare, but who knows you could be one of the people who get it

What is ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease is not a very common disease to get. This is a disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord slowly die. This make it very hard for people to do everyday things, like walking.

Maybe you could get ALS

  • ALS most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Before the age of 65, slightly more men than women develop ALS. This gender difference disappears after age 70.
  • Smoking cigarettes appears to increase a person's risk of ALS to almost twice that of a nonsmoker. The more years spent smoking, the greater the risk. However, quitting smoking can eventually lower the increased risk.
  • Some evidence suggests that exposure to lead in the workplace may be associated with the development of ALS.
  • Recent studies indicate that people who have served in the military are at higher risk of ALS. Exactly what about military service may trigger the development of ALS is uncertain, but it may include exposure to certain metals or chemicals, traumatic injuries, viral infections and intense exertion.

Symptoms

Some symptoms include...

  • Increasing weakness in one limb, especially in a hand
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Clumsiness of the hands.
  • Fasciculations, which are subtle, light twitches under the skin
  • Impaired speech
  • Difficulty swallowing

Causes

Gene mutation-

Several genetic mutations can lead to inherited ALS, which appears almost exactly the same to the non-inherited form.


Chemical imbalance-

People with ALS generally have higher than normal levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, around the nerve cells in their spinal fluid. Too much glutamate is known to be toxic to some nerve cells and this causes the nerve cells to die.

Disorganized immune response-
Sometimes a person's immune system begins attacking some of his or her body's own normal cells, which may lead to the death of nerve cells.

How is it diagnosed?

A neurologist will administer an electromyogram (EMG), which is used to detect nerve damage. Some other tests can rule out muscular dystrophy,multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tumors, or other diseases.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

This challenge is when you fill a bucket with ice and water and pour it on your head. Everyone who is nominated has to do the challenge in 24 hours and donate a dollar to the ALSA (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association) for research. If the nominees do not do it in 24 hour the have to donate $100 to the ALSA. This challenge is to gain awareness of ALS and to help find a cure.

Can it be cured?

Even though there are a few treatment for ALS, doctors have not found a cure yet. Hopefully in the near future there will be a cure and people with ALS will not have to suffer anymore.

Treatment

  • Rilutek (riluzole) is an approved drug for the treatment of ALS

  • Physical therapy can improve circulation and help prolong muscle use in the early stages of ALS

  • various medications may be prescribed as the disease progresses to help with symptoms. Baclofen relieves stiffness in the limbs and throat. Muscle decline and weight loss can be slowed with nutritional supplements called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Phenytoin may ease cramps. Tricyclic antidepressants can help control excess saliva production, one of the symptoms of ALS. Antidepressants may also be prescribed to help with depression, which often accompanies a severe illness.

  • experimental therapy involves synthetic forms of an insulin


Is ALS a fatal disease?

Yes, ALS is a fatal disease. Although there are a few treatments for ALS, but usually people will die with in 2-5 years of the diagnosis.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is when a person is nominate to pour a bucket of ice water on their head and nominate other people to do the same. The nominees have to donate a dollar, or more, to the ALSA (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association). The nominees have 24 hours to do this challenge or the have to donate $100 to the ALSA. If you look down below there is a video of a few people doing the challenge.
Big 12 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Montage

How can you improve your health when you have ALS?

  • Go to Physical and Occupational Therapy to help your heart get stronger
  • Take the medicine your doctor gives you; sometimes a doctor will prescribe extra medication to help reduce nerve damage, control muscle spams or stiffness, etc.
  • Go to speech therapy; ALS affects the muscles you use to speak, a speech therapist will help you speak clearer and be more understood by others
  • Nutritional Support; a nutritional specialist can offer advice on foods that are easy to swallow, but having ALS can result in having a feeding tube put in your stomach because it is too hard to swallow
  • Assistive Devices; Assistive devices can help you maintain as much mobility as possible. Braces can support weakened muscles in your limbs. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs also can help with mobility. As Lou Gehrig's disease weakens muscles you use to breathe, you may need a breathing machine (a mask or a ventilator) to assist with your breathing.

"Announcements: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month — May 2013." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Apr. 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.


"Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." (ALS) Risk Factors. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.



"Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." (ALS) Causes. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.


"ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – A Global Movement to Find A Cure." ALSA.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015


Buzzle.com. 2000-2014. N.p


The International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations. 2014. N.p.


"Big 12 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Montage." YouTube. Big12Conference, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.