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What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis? Essay

1373 words - 5 pages

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is short for ALS, and is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Lou Gehrig was born in New York in June 19, 1903. In April of 1923, Lou Gehrig signed his first contract with the New York Yankees. He played for the Yankees for 15 years and lead them to 6 World Series between 1927 and 1938. Gehrig was known as a seven-time all-star champion, for his batting average and was named twice the American League's MVP; He later earned the name of the Iron Horse (Lou Gehrig Biography). Unfortunately, his career ended, when he was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1939 . On May 2, 1939 he pulled himself away from the Yankees. At 36 years old, Lou retired from baseball. On June 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig officially retired from baseball in front of a sold out stadium (Lou Gehrig Biography). Two years later, he died from ALS on June 2,1941.
ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, which makes it hard for muscles to function correctly. The brainstem and spinal cord that serve as controlling units and vital communications, links between the nervous system and voluntary muscles of the body. The upper motor neurons and lower neurons in the brain, start to die and stop sending messages to the muscles. Since the muscles aren't able to function and have no nourishment, they start to weaken and waste away (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet). The connection feeds the muscles, so with ALS, the muscles are affected. The muscles don’t start to weaken because they fail (ALS[Lou Gehrig’s Disease]), but because they aren't getting the signal from the motor neurons and lower neurons on what to do next; Because muscles weaken, paralysis in hands, arms, legs, face and speech or swallowing occurs (Symptoms).
It is known that only a small percentage of patients with ALS experience problems with decision making or memory. There is also evidence that the patient might develop dementia over a time. Dementia is a loss of brain function, it affects memory, language, thinking and judgment. Also they have a high risk of pneumonia during a later stage of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet).
Amyotrophic does not affect the ability to see, smell, hear or recognize touch. A person with ALS have control of eye muscles and bladder control. Lou Gehrig's diseases mostly affects the nervous system (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet). When the muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, thats when the patients start to lose the ability to breath without ventilatory support. Respiratory failure is a big cause of deaths with patients who have ALS; Patients die usually within 3 to 5 years from onset of symptoms (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet).
ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet).There are three different types of ALS causes there is, familial, sporadic, and guamanian. Familial is 5-10% , sporadic is the most common...

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