You may be familiar with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
ALS is a rare, progressively debilitating disease that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons in the central nervous system that control muscles deteriorate, causing loss of muscle size and strength.
Onset of the disease typically occurs among individuals between the ages of 40 and 70. The average age of diagnosis is 55, but people in their 20s and 30s also have been diagnosed with ALS. It's believed that as many as 30,000 Americans may be diagnosed with the disease.
There are two different types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis:
You may experience:
There is no specific diagnostic test for diagnosing ALS. Your HonorHealth neurologist will use a variety of tests to eliminate other possible conditions. Tests may include:
While there is no known cause of sporadic ALS, researchers continue to study environmental and genetic factors. Familial factors researchers are studying include:
Unfortunately ALS is a devastating diagnosis because it's almost always fatal. Doctors can work with you to help you lessen symptoms and extend your quality of life. Among the options are: