What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in simple terms?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurological disease that primarily affects the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement (those muscles we choose to move). Voluntary muscles produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking.
What happens in ALS?
ALS affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements such as walking and talking (motor neurons). ALS causes the motor neurons to gradually deteriorate, and then die. Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body.
Why is it called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
ALS is the most common form of motor neuron disease. The word “amyotrophic” comes from Greek roots that mean “without nourishment to muscles” and refers to the loss of signals nerve cells normally send to muscle cells. “Lateral” means “to the side” and refers to the location of the damage in the spinal cord.
How long do you live with ALS?
Although the mean survival time with ALS is two to five years, some people live five, 10 or more years. Symptoms can begin in the muscles that control speech and swallowing or in the hands, arms, legs or feet.
What are 3 types of ALS?
Causes and Types of ALS
- Sporadic ALS.
- Familial ALS.
- Guamanian ALS.
What is the longest living person with ALS?
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, whose ALS was diagnosed in 1963, had the disease for 55 years, the longest recorded time. He died at the age of 76 in 2018.
How can you prevent getting ALS?
Eating bright colored foods, especially those that are yellow, orange, and red, may prevent or slow the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
What test to rule out ALS?
Magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) can look at the tissue in the spinal cord and brain, helping to rule out conditions such as multiple sclerosis and brain tumors as well as diseases of the spinal cord. Genetic testing. Around 10 percent of ALS cases are genetic.
What are the early warning signs of ALS?
According to the ALS Association, early signs of ALS usually include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps, and twitches and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. The National Institute of Health also states that to be diagnosed with ALS,…
What are the early signs of ALS?
Such symptoms of ALS given by the National Institute of Health include: According to the ALS Association, early signs of ALS usually include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps, and twitches and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying.
What are the end stage of ALS?
End stages of ALS often include trouble swallowing and speaking. Weak and paralyzed vocal cords make speaking difficult and eventually impossible. Trouble swallowing occurs gradually in some patients, but can occur suddenly in others.