Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Overviewf
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disorder of the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary movements. It is sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease for the famous baseball player who died of the disease. The muscles become progressively weaker, and the condition eventually leads to paralysis and death.
ALS is one of a group of diseases known as motor neuron diseases. Neurons are nerve cells, and motor neurons are neurons that control movement.
The loss of strength and control follows different patterns in different people.
In most cases, ALS does not affect a person's mental abilities, senses, reasoning, memory, or personality. Senses such as vision and touch are not lost. Most people retain their ability to move their eyes. Bowel and bladder control are not impaired.
ALS affects all races and ethnic groups. The disease can occur at any age but is most common in people aged 40-60 years. Men are affected more often than women.
No cure is available for ALS. The effects of the disease are not reversible. Research is focused on finding the cause of the neuron degeneration and stopping it.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014
Fernando Dangond, MD
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