About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Last Updated on May 07, 2018
Font : A-A+

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neuro- muscular disease that causes degeneration of voluntary muscles and nerves. Stephen Hawking is a famous personality affected by ALS.

Advertisement

Other names - Maladie de Charcot, Lou Gehrig's disease, Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive and fatal disease that is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons that control voluntary muscular movements of the body.

It is also called Lou Gehrig's disease after the famed American baseballer by the same name, who died of ALS in 1941, aged 37. Stephen Hawking, the world renowned physicist, is among those afflicted, currently alive.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS is classified under 'motor neuron disorders' and is characterized by the gradual degeneration of motor neurons which are nerve cells localized in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord which control communication between the nervous system and the voluntary muscles all over the body.

Upper motor neurons (brain)
¦
Lower motor neurons (spinal cord)
¦
Voluntary muscles

The disorder begins when the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate and stop sending signals to the muscles bringing about weakening, twitching (fasciculation) and their eventual atrophy. Initially the disease may manifest as difficulty in walking or running, writing or speech. The patient may ultimately loose control over all voluntary movements and there comes a stage when the brain no longer controls voluntary movements of the body and the patient becomes weak and is unable to walk or move his arms or legs.

Advertisement

Breathing too becomes difficult as the muscles of the chest and the diaphragm are damaged. Although a ventilator may help for a while, the afflicted persons very often die from respiratory failure within 3-5 years of disease onset.

Generally, the intelligence of the patient is not impaired. However certain changes in cognitive function is brought about such as memory loss, problems with making decisions and depression. However, the person's ability to see, smell, hear, taste or touch is not affected.

ALS is one of the common neuromuscular diseases which mostly affects men, more than women, of all races and ethnic background. Majority of the disease ( almost 90%) is sporadic and only in 10% of cases are familial (inherited). It is generally seen in people aged over 50 years.

The actual causes of ALS are not very clear. Familial predisposition has been implicated, but in the vast majority of affected people it occurs de novo. In 90-95% of ALS cases the disease is not familial, but occurs sporadically.

5-10% of all ALS cases are genetically determined. One-fifth of these cases occur due to a mutation in the gene SOD1 that codes for the enzyme superoxidase dismutase 1. It is obvious that other genes are involved and are waiting to be discovered.

ALS cannot be completely cured but medications are available that can control the symptoms and prolong life. Some people can live for as long as even ten years with proper treatment.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

What is new in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?

1. What is the Connection Between Exercise and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

Risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS could be increased by intense physical activity, finds a new study. Lifetime physical activity was associated with heightened risk of ALS, after taking account of potentially influential factors, such as age, sex, smoking and alcohol intake, and other potential workplace exposures. The heightened risk was 6 percent for leisure time activities; 7 percent for workplace activities; and 6 percent for all activities combined.

Latest Publications and Research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. (2018, May 07). Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-Lou Gehrig's disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. Medindia. Retrieved on Jun 27, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis.htm.

  • MLA

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-Lou Gehrig's disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment". Medindia. Jun 27, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-Lou Gehrig's disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis.htm. (accessed Jun 27, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. 2021. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-Lou Gehrig's disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. Medindia, viewed Jun 27, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis.htm.


Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Comments

mnarciastewart

With my amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], the first thing that happened almost 2 years ago now, was speaking as if I were drunk. I wasn't. I initially did improve speech (articulating clearly but slow) but now I can no longer speak in an acceptable way. Then, a year later eating became problematic, I was biting my tongue and lips, and chewing became weak and less controlled. Soon after that some fingers started to fail me and things would drop out of my hands. Somewhere at that time bulbar ALS was diagnosed. The Rilutek (riluzole) did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating.. We tried every shot available but nothing was working. There has been little if any progress in finding a reliable treatment, Our care provider introduced us to Kycuyu Health Clinic ALS/MND herbal treatment. The treatment is a miracle.i recovered significantly! Visit www. kycuyuhealthclinic. com

glen66t

My ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] Symptoms started out with a "foot drop" on my left foot. From there my left leg lost all muscle tone and the entire left leg muscles are gone. Also my fingers and thumbs "contract" at times. Left arm loses muscle tone too. My family doctor said there is no cure for ALS, I was just living unhappy life till I saw a blog talking about Best Health Herbal Centre. So many people said positive things about their herbal product which I don’t believe at first. I showed my daughter what I saw online about their product and my daughter decided we shall give it a try. Few days later she purchased two bottle of ALS herbal remedy which they said I will use for only six weeks. My life changed automatically after six weeks of applying the herbal remedy as instructed. All my symptoms was terminated completely and am now living ALS FREE .. All Thanks to Best Health Herbal Centre for their good work in people’s life. For more details about their herbal product visit their Homepage w ww .besthealthherbalcentre. co m

Andrea59

Are there any new treatments for Als?

hopeforjoy

My dearest friend, Joy Styles, died from ALS on July 1st 2011. She was only 52. She was running half marathons and was very active when she noticed an atrophy in her left and and a weakness in her right leg. I have created a website in her name http://www.hopeforjoy.ca that is about her and has useful information about the disease. I wish I could do more, but every little bit helps. God bless everyone who has had experience with this terrible disease.

Doctor_Lilly

My symptoms started off with extreme muscle spasms and cramps. It would get worse when I was on my monthly. I was walking and running at the time to lose some weight that I thought was causing the muscle aches, headaches, and the pain that I was feeling in my whole body. One day it got overwhelming. It was August 17th, 2007. I felt like I was getting the life squeezed out of me and my mind was racing the whole time while experiencing difficulty speaking, walking, and trying to control the jerky movements. I was admitted as a psychiatric patient at that time, now it's been two years later and I feel like I am disseminating. I had another attack recently and that is what scared me enough to go to the neurologist. I am still afraid. I want to see it, and I'm interested in the damage that my body has endured. Can't wait to start treatment. Findyourdrug.com

View More Comments
Advertisement
Recommended Reading
Advertisement
Health Topics A - Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



    Advertisement
    Drugs for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
    Edaravone
    Riluzole
    What's New on Medindia
    COVID Toes
    International Yoga Day 2022 - 'Yoga for Humanity'
    Wearable Devices Are Now Transforming Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and Epilepsy Management.
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Drug Interaction Checker Post-Nasal Drip Sanatogen Drug - Food Interactions Blood Pressure Calculator Daily Calorie Requirements How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Vent Forte (Theophylline) Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam)

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use