Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects the motor neurons connecting the brain and spinal cord. It progressively deteriorates the motor neurons reaching from the brain to the spinal cord, which eventually leads to their death. Once the neurons controlling mobility die, the brain loses the ability to control muscle movement. The progressive degeneration of ALS may leave patients completely paralyzed in its latter stages.</>
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients suffer from lack of muscle nourishment. “Amyotrophic” literally means “no muscle nourishment” as defined in the ancient Greek language. If muscles do not obtain adequate nutrition, then it atrophies or wastes away. “Lateral” directs attention to the spinal cord areas of the afflicted patient, usually where the concentration of nerves signaling the control of muscles are located. As a result of nerve generation within the spinal cord, scarring and hardening of the tissues in the region, often referred to as “sclerosis.”
More info can be found at The University of Cincinnati Health Library
Why is it known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease?
Lou Gehrig, a famous baseball player in the U.S. during the 1930′s, became afflicted with ALS. He was known as baseball’s “Ironman”. Strength, agility, excellent health – Lou Gehrig had everything it took to become a baseball legend. But Lou Gehrig had something else. At the peak of his career, he was diagnosed as having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He died at the age of 38.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,”
is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain
and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from
the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration
of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons
die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With
voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of
the disease may become totally paralyzed. Partial text taken from ALS Connecticut
Onset -usually adulthood
Symptoms – generalized weakness and muscle wasting with cramps and muscle twitches common
Progression – ALS first affects legs, arms and/or throat and mouth muscles but ultimately affects all voluntary muscles, resulting in paralysis. Usually progresses rapidly with 3- to 5-year average survival.
Partial text from MDA Division
Facts You Should Know About ALS
Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S.are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS (two per 100,000 people) is five times higher than Huntington’s disease and about equal to multiple sclerosis. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
Partial text from the ALS Association