Don't count the days. Make the days count. - M. Ali
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment – "No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.
Thanks to the ALSA for providing this information on ALS
Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. (That's 15 new cases a day.) Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with the disease and someone passes away from it.
It is estimated that at least 16,000 have the disease at any given time.
Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties.
ALS is 20 percent more common in men than in women. However, with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.
About 90 percent of ALS cases occur without family history. The remaining 10 percent of ALS cases are inherited through a mutated gene. On average, it takes about one year before a final ALS diagnosis is made.
On July 4, 1939, New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig gave a farewell speech in front of 62,000 fans. He had been one of the best in the game, playing in over 2,000 straight games, hitting almost 500 home runs, logging 13 100-RBI seasons in a row and notching a career batting average of .340.
His skills were diminishing quickly because of ALS. Lou called the disease a "bad break", but due to his fans, teammates, and family, still considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of this Earth".
Less than 2 years later, Lou succumbed to the disease, just shy of his 38th birthday.
Because of the light he shown on ALS, many still today refer to it as Lou Gehrig's Disease.