ALS Awareness Monthkchome
ALS Awareness Month
What is ALS?
ALS is an abbreviation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a chronic degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in both the brain and spinal cord. It is also commonly known as Lou Gerhig’s disease after the legendary baseball player who eventually succumbed to the illness. The term “amyotrophic” comes from the Greek language and translates to “no muscle nourishment,” referring to the deterioration of muscle control that occurs with ASL. Nerve transmission follows a path from the brain, to the spinal cord and then to muscles throughout the body. However, as the disease progresses the motor neurons carrying signals from the brain die, causing loss of muscle control. Those afflicted may lose the ability over time to walk, use their arms, speak, eat, and even breath. The life expectancy of those suffering from the disease is variable but typically ranges from 3-5 years.
How does a person get ALS?
The exact cause of the disease has not been determined but research efforts continue in search of answers. We do know that ALS is not contagious and that only 5-10% of ALS cases are deemed familial or genetic. The majority of cases are sporadic, or without a hereditary cause. The most common age at diagnosis is greater than 40 years. The rate of diagnosis is higher in men than in women. Military veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS than the rest of the population, the reason for which is still unknown. There are approximately 16,000 people living with the disease in the US at any given time.
Is there a cure for ALS?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS. The FDA has approved the use of several medications to manage the symptoms of the disease. Research is ongoing in hopes of more effective treatments and ultimately a cure. Visit http://www.alsa.org/ for more information or to make a donation.
How can we help?
KC Home Medical Supply staff realize the obstacles that daily life can present for people living with ALS. Our staff are compassionate individuals trained to identify how adaptive products can improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers alike. We would be happy to talk about your specific issues or needs and find the product that best suits you. Please call or stop by one of our four locations for more information.