ALS

ALS. What is ALS?

If you are on any type of social media, then you probably  know about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is where a person has been challenged to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads, and then challenge 3 others to accept the challenge within 24 hours. If they choose to dump the ice and water on their head, they are to make a $10 donation, and if they decide to not dump the ice and water on their head, they are to make a $100 donation.

Even though the ice bucket challenge is helping bring awareness to ALS, many still don’t have a clue what this devastating disease is or how it affects people.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive and fatal neurological disease that causes neurons that control voluntary muscles to degenerate. From onset of symptoms, most people will die from respiratory failure within 3 to 5 years, with about 10% of those with ALS survive 10 or more years.

Early symptoms include: muscle twitching, muscle atrophy, and cramping. As the brain loses the ability to communicate with the voluntary muscles, other symptoms might appear: rigid muscles, muscle weakness, stiffness in arms and legs, difficulty in walking if the leg muscles get affected, and difficulty in lifting or holding objects if the muscles of the hands get affected. As the disease progresses, the muscles of the face and torso could also get adversely affected and the following symptoms that might occur: difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in chewing, and speech problems. When the muscles associated with breathing get affected, mechanical ventilation might be required.

There is NO cure.

So, whether you have been Ice Bucket Challenged or not, please visit alsa.org and consider making a donation today. I have. I lost an uncle many years ago to this. ALS is a devastating, heartbreaking, and horrific disease. We need to find a cure!

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