What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare, progressive, neurological condition in which the long motor neurons in the brain cortex and spinal cord deteriorate and die. The associated voluntary muscles waste away, causing symptoms such as muscle spasms, cramps, rigidity, pain, inflammation, and paralysis.
ALS affects an estimated 30,000 Americans at any given time. It often appears suddenly in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 70.
There is currently no known cure. Available treatments strive to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and prolong survival.
Medications that protect the brain and remove free radicals from the body can help to manage symptoms and possibly slow the progress of the disease. Nutrition, cognitive behavioral therapy, and therapy for breathing, speech, and movement may also improve quality of life.