Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also know as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There are two different types of ALS: sporadic and familial.
To help you understand more about this disease, we’ve put together a list with some facts about ALS you should know about (source: ALS Association):
1. Most people who develop ALS are between 40 and 70 years old and are usually diagnosed around the age of 55. More than 50 percent of all ALS patients live more than three years after being diagnosed, even though the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is between two and five years.
2. The most common form of ALS is called “Sporadic ALS.” In the United States, this form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis represents between 90 and 95 percent of all cases.
3. Familial ALS (FALS) is another form of ALS and it means that the disease is inherited. In cases of families that have ALS in their genetic and medical history, there is up to a 50 percent chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease.
4. Once it starts, ALS always progresses and it can eventually take away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe. The speed and order of the disease’s progression varies from person to person.
5. ALS can affect anyone but military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.
6. The early symptoms of ALS often involve muscle weakness or stiffness.
7. There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment, and home health care during later stages of the disease. It is important to learn about health plan coverage and other options.
ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.