What is ALS?

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ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a fatal neuromuscular disease that affects the muscles in the spinal cord and brain. Individuals can be affected in different ways and no one person may have the same challenges. Symptoms can be muscle weakness in the arms and legs, jumbled speech, and swallowing and breathing problems.

With the weakening of the muscles they begin to atrophy (become smaller) and become paralyzed as the disease progresses. The life expectancy is 2-5 years after a diagnosis and can affect any race, gender or age. There currently is no cure for ALS and every 90 minutes 1 person is diagnosed with ALS.

Seventy-five years ago Lou Gehrig had ALS. He was a baseball player and died at the age of 37 after fighting his 2 year battle. If you’re interested in his story you can click here to read more.

In 2008, my mother was diagnosed with ALS. She was a courageous, strong-willed woman who fought a 4-year battle with ALS. I can’t say enough about the program at the U of M. With their monthly ALS support group, my mom found “people like her” which made her realize she wasn’t alone. If you’re intrested in more infrormation on ALS, click here.

1 thought on “What is ALS?

  1. This is a really moving post for me. It’s so hard to think that you could do everything right and still be affected by this terrible disease. The statistic about 1 person being affected every 90 minutes is shocking and terrifying. Your mother sounds like such a strong woman. To live for 4 years with that disease is nothing short of extraordinary. She must have had a great support system standing behind her. Thanks for sharing, Sandra!

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