31 FACTS FOR ALS AWARENESS MONTH
Guest Post by Sarah Martin
Fact #1: ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Fact #2: ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after Yankees player Lou Gehrig.
Fact #3: Most people with ALS live 2-5 years after the first signs of the disease. About 10% live for ≥10 years.
Fact #4: Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS in the United States.
Fact #5: Early signs of ALS include muscle weakness, twitching, muscle cramps & difficulty speaking or swallowing.
Fact #6: ALS occurs throughout the world and has no socioeconomic, ethnic, or racial boundaries.
Fact #7: There is no single diagnostic test for ALS. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and ruling out other diseases.
Fact #8: The cause of ALS is not known.
Fact #9: ALS does not affect a person’s ability to smell, see, taste, hear, or recognize touch.
Fact #10: French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot discovered ALS in 1869, yet we still have no cure for the disease.
Fact #11: Tests done to diagnose ALS can include electromyography, blood & urine tests, spinal tap & muscle biopsy.
Fact #12: About 5-10% of ALS cases are inherited, also known as familial ALS. It is caused by a genetic mutation.
Fact #13: Most ALS cases are sporadic. It can affect anyone.
Fact #14: US military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.
Fact #15: ALS is not contagious.
Fact #16: ALS usually strikes between the ages of 40-70, but can occur in younger adults and the elderly.
Fact #17: ALS is slightly more common in men than women.
Fact #18: ALS = MND (Motor Neuron Disease) in some parts of the world such as the UK and Australia.
Fact #19: A small percentage of people with ALS experience frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Fact #20: ALS generally spreads from one part of the body to another.
Fact #21: Some public figures with ALS include former NFL player Steve Gleason and physicist Stephen Hawking.
Fact #22: ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Fact #23: Involuntary muscles are not affected in ALS. These include the muscles that control the bladder and heartbeat.
Fact #24: It is estimated that approximately 30,000 people in the United States may be living with ALS at the current time.
Fact #25: Current treatment for ALS focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Fact #26: It is essential that people with ALS receive psychological and social support in addition to physical support.
Fact #27: People with ALS work with a multidisciplinary team of doctors to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Fact #28: In 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions of dollars for research, patient care and more.
Fact #29: There are organizations & people around the world working hard for a cure for ALS, including ALSA & ALS TDI.
Fact #30: The month of May has been established as ALS Awareness Month in the United States.
Fact #31: We will put an end to ALS one day.