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ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) (Lou Gehrig's Disease) Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a classic motor neuron disease. Motor neuron diseases are progressive chronic diseases of the nerves that come from the spinal cord responsible for supplying electrical stimulation to the muscles. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease in North America after the baseball player who had it. Gehrig was born in 1903, and he died in 1941 at the age of 38. ALS strikes in mid-life, most often in the fifth through seventh decades of life. Men are about one-and-a-half times more likely than women to have the disease. It affects about 20,000 Americans at any one time with 5,000 new cases occurring in the United States each year. ALS occurs when specific nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. The loss of these motor neurons causes the muscles under their control to weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis. The cause of this disease process is still unknown. ALS manifests itself in different ways, depending on which muscles weaken first. Symptoms may include tripping and falling, loss of motor control in hands and arms, difficulty speaking, swallowing and/or breathing, persistent fatigue, and twitching and cramping. ALS is usually progressive and fatal. The usual causes of death of patients with motor neuron diseases are not directly related to the disease but result from simultaneous additional illnesses, often infections. ALS usually leads to death within 5 years of the time the diagnosis of ALS is made with a range from 2 to 7 years. ALS,Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,Lou Gehrig's Disease,Symptoms of ALS,Symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,Symptoms of Lou Gerhig's disease

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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