ALS is short form used for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The disease, ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the American baseball first baseman Lou Gehrig who was diagnosed with it in the 1930s. There are mainly two types of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis including Sporadic ALS and Familial ALS (FALS).
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What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) comes from the group of rare neurological diseases that mainly involve the neurons (nerve cells) responsible for controlling spontaneous muscle movement. Spontaneous muscles produce movements like walking, chewing and talking. The disease is a progressive type, meaning the symptoms get worse over time. Currently, there is no cure and effective treatment for ALS.
What are the Causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
Scientists actually don’t know the exact causes of death of motor neurons with ALS. But few cases have shown the gene changes or mutations as the causes of ALS. Other types of possible glutamate, mitochondria problems, immune system problems, and oxidative stress.
What are the Common Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
There are several common symptoms of ALS including;
- Fasciculations (muscle twitches) in the leg, shoulder, arm or tongue.
- Muscle cramps.
- Tight and stiff muscles.
- Muscle weakness affecting an arm, a leg, neck or diaphragm.
- Slurred and nasal speech.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
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How can we Diagnose the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
There is no test that can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, whereas the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs in a single limb is strongly indicative. Rather, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the signs and symptoms the doctor or physician observes in the person and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Doctors or physicians obtain the person’s full medical history and regularly based on a neurologic examination.
What are the Types of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
There are two types of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis including;
- Sporadic ALS
- Familial ALS (FALS)
Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):
It is the common form of ALS. It affects up to 90-95 percent of people with the ALS disease. These cases of Sporadic ALS occur randomly, without any known cause.
Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FALS):
It usually runs in families. About 7 to 10 percent of people with ALS have this type of FALS. FALS is caused by changes in a gene that make protein SOD1. Parents pass this faulty gene to their children. If one parent has the gene for ALS, each of their children will have a 50-50 percent chance of getting the gene and having the disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is not so common disease but early signs and symptoms can minimize the risk of the further development of the disease.
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