What are the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis statistics? How many people does this disease affect every year, and how is it treated? This article will talk about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis statistics, and other important facts about this disease. After reading the article, you can read on a related topic on why it is wise to keep in touch with a home GP.
What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease as it is also known, is a kind of disease that causes damage to the motor neurons and causes muscle weakness and muscle atrophy. There is no one test to determine if a person has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but rather a series of other types of tests are conducted to rule out other types of diseases for a proper diagnosis for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to be made.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive disease that affects a person’s nervous system. It attacks the nerve cells in the brain, causing the loss of voluntary control of the muscles. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there is no known cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Although there are some drugs that can be used to slow down the effects of the disease, and
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis statistics
Lou Gehrig’s disease affects two out of 100,000 people in the population each year. the prevalence is quite low, considering the statistical data says that only around 30,000 Americans are affected with the disease.
The peak age for people to develop the disease is around 55 to 75 years old, although there are many recorded cases of people younger to have developed the disease as well. The disease usually occurs more often in men rather than in women.
Symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
In most cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the symptoms that appear would vary. These symptoms can show up on at a time, or have an onset of many symptoms appear all together. Here is a list of the most common symptoms that statistically occur for people who may have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The general feeling of weakness is a common symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Usually, the people who feel weakness because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease feel the weakness in their legs, feet, arms and hands.
- Tripping or falling
If a person trips or falls frequently, or gets out of balance easily, it may also be a sign of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is because the person may be losing their control over their muscles in these parts of the body.
- Muscle cramps or twitching
Muscle cramps or twitching in the muscles are also signs of Lou Gehrig’s disease. These are signs that the muscles are having a difficulty responding to the signals from the neurons of the brain.
- Slurred speech
Slurred speech is also a sign that the brain cells are slowly getting destroyed and affected by the disease. This slurred speech may also be a sign that the response time of the muscles to the messages from the brain is slowing down because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. This issue as a result of ALS has nothing to do with speech disorders caused by dental issues.
What causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
There is no statistical data that can accurately show the cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. There are around 5% of the total number of recorded cases that show that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can be inherited. However, outside of that statistic, much is still unknown about the cause of this disease.
Experts say that the cause for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that can cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
What happens when a person has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
The main result of having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is muscular atrophy. This means that the muscles will become hard and unable to be moved. Muscular atrophy is a direct result of the damaged communication between the brain neurons and the muscles. Muscle atrophy will start to happen because the muscles will be unable to move, causing them to harden.
Risk factor statistics
The statistics that surround risk factors can happen differently for each patient who is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and muscular atrophy because of the illness.
- Heredity and genetics
Statistics tell us that five to ten percent of the overall cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are because of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Meaning there these people have family members from older generations that have had the disease as well.
The statistical data has recorded that people between the age of 55 to 75 have a higher chance of getting diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. People in this age bracket that have other risk factors have a higher chance of being diagnosed with the disease.
Males have more chances of being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease than females, but this gender risk factor is diminished if the female has family members that have had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis before.
Dealing with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Since there is no known cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis yet, once a person is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease will continue to actively destroy the cells and neurons of the brain until a treatment method is administered to slow down the disease.
Keep in mind that even if treatment is given to a person who is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the treatment or medication will only work to slow down the damage that the disease causes to the brain. It cannot totally reverse the effects that the disease has already had on the brain. For most patients that suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, their muscular atrophy will continue to worsen until it reaches its most severe stage.
However, many still choose to take the medication to delay the effects of the disease for as long as possible. This grim illness usually ends with the patient unable to breathe because the messages from the brain no longer reach the lungs to function as they should. However, there are cases where people can live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The famous physicist Stephen Hawking lived a long and fruitful life, even long after his diagnosis of the disease. Despite his muscular atrophy and being confined to his wheelchair, he was still able to make groundbreaking discoveries and contribute to the world of physics.
Do you have any of the symptoms mentioned above? If you do, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about these symptoms and get tested and diagnosed. Your doctor will be able to recommend treatment options available to you should you be diagnosed with this disease.