The health care provider will examine you and ask about your medical history and symptoms.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Definition Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS is a disease that breaks down tissues in the nervous system a neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause that affects the nerves responsible for movement.
It is also known as motor neuron disease and Lou Gehrig 's disease, after the baseball player whose career it ended.
Description ALS is a disease of the motor neurons, those nerve cells reaching from the brain to the spinal cord upper motor neurons and the spinal cord to the peripheral nerves lower motor neurons that control muscle movement. In ALS, for unknown reasons, these neurons die, leading to a progressive loss of the ability to move virtually any of the muscles in the body.
ALS affects "voluntary" muscles, those controlled by conscious thought, such as the arm, leg, and trunk muscles. ALS, in and of itself, does not affect sensation, thought processes, the heart muscle, or the "smooth" muscle of the digestive systembladder, and other internal organs.
Most people with ALS retain function of their eye muscles as well. However, various forms of ALS may be associated with a loss of intellectual function dementia or sensory symptoms. ALS affects approximately 30, people in the United Stateswith about 5, new cases each year. It usually begins between the ages of 40 and 70, although younger onset is possible.
Men are slightly more likely to develop ALS than women.
ALS progresses rapidly in most cases. Ten percent of people with ALS live beyond eight years. Causes and symptoms Causes The symptoms of ALS are caused by the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Normally, these neurons convey electrical messages from the brain to the muscles to stimulate movement in the arms, legs, trunk, neck, and head.
As motor neurons die, the muscles they enervate cannot be moved as effectively, and weakness results. In addition, lack of stimulation leads to muscle wasting, or loss of bulk. Involvement of the upper motor neurons causes spasms and increased tone in the limbs, and abnormal reflexes. Involvement of the lower motor neurons causes muscle wasting and twitching fasciculations.
Although many causes of motor neuron degeneration have been suggested for ALS, none has yet been proven responsible.
Results of recent research have implicated toxic molecular fragments known as free radicals. Some evidence suggests that a cascade of events leads to excess free radical production inside motor neurons, leading to their death.
Why free radicals should be produced in excess amounts is unclear, as is whether this excess is the cause or the effect of other degenerative processes. Additional agents within this toxic cascade may include excessive levels of a neurotransmitter known as glutamate, which may over-stimulate motor neurons, thereby increasing free-radical production, and a faulty detoxification enzyme known as SOD-1, for superoxide dismutase type 1.
The actual pathway of destruction is not known, however, nor is the trigger for the rapid degeneration that marks ALS. Further research may show that other pathways are involved, perhaps ones even more important than this one.
Autoimmune factors or premature aging may play some role, as could viral agents or environmental toxins. Two major forms of ALS are known:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord slowly die.
These nerve cells are called motor neurons, and they control the muscles that allow you to move the parts of your body. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the death of motor neurons in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord, resulting in fatal paralysis.
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Symptoms, Causes, Life Expectancy Center Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a neurological disease that progresses rapidly. The disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for the control of voluntary muscles.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a specific disorder that involves the death of neurons. In a number of countries, the term motor neurone disease (MND) is commonly used, while others use that term for a group of five .
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disease that attacks nerve cells called neurons in your brain and spinal cord.
These neurons transmit messages from your brain and spinal cord to your voluntary muscles - the ones you can control, like in your arms and legs. This story, originally published on his 70th birthday on January 7, , is being resurfaced to explain how he beat the odds and lived so long with the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).