The Effects of Lou Gehrig's Disease.
ALS is short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; motor neuron disease. also known as Lou Gehrigís disease.
Lou Gehrig was a baseball player for the New York Yankees for 16 years, and was twice voted the leagueís most valuable player. He developed this sad disease and had to retire in 1939. In researching this disease, I found that it is a disease that is fatal and has no cure.
AlS symptoms may include fatigue, tripping, falling, loss of muscle control and strength. It becomes hard to speak and swallow. Breathing becomes very hard as well. Most people with ALS end up dying from either respiratory failure, or respiratory disease. Gratefully, death usually occurs when the person is asleep.
Researchers believe that glutamate, which is a main component in proteins and peptides play a very important role in our metabolism. As the main excitatory transmitter in the CNS, L-Glutamate, is present at a lot of synapses. Over-working of these same receptors is thought to be one of the main reasons for the neuronal damage associated with a wide variety of neurological diseases.
There is upper motor neuron damage and lower motor damage. Upper motor neuron symptoms are stiffness, muscle twitching, and muscle shaking. Symptoms for lower motor neuron damage include muscle weakness and muscle shrinking.
This disease affects the nerves and the muscles, yet not the brain. ALS does not affect all the muscles. The bowel and bladder work good, the heart is unaffected, and the eyes, which are the last muscles affected, may never become affected at all.
The most common type of ALS is called Sporadic ALS; found in 90% of all ALS cases. Sporadic means having no known cause. Ten percent is familial, meaning if a parent has ALS then they will have a 50 percent chance of getting ALS eventually, mostly palsied with paralysis.
According to the third edition of Professional Guide to Diseases, 1989, published by Springhouse Corporation, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a degeneration of upper motor neurons in the medulla oblongata and lower neurons in the spinal cord.
Mental deterioration doesnít usually occur, but that some may people become depressed as a reaction to the disease. This disease is so varied in depth and types that it gets quite confusing to explain, for instance, Bulbar ALS.
Bulbar refers to the brain stem. Thatís where a lot of motor neurons collect. With this certain type of ALS the first symptoms are that speaking and swallowing become impaired. Many people who have this type are unable to talk or eat, but can walk and write.
There is also a type called Limb-onset. This is where the first symptoms are weakness in the legs and arms.
Out of all the people that are living with ALS, only 5 to 10 percent have ALS caused from familial inheritance.
There are a variety of ways that patents who have ALS die. Respiratory failure, or cardiac arrhythmia due to insufficient oxygen are common. They often die from repertory infections such as pneumonia. This is due to the weakened diaphragm and chest muscles, which makes it more difficult to clear the lungs.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis literally means:
A= without Myo= muscle Trophic= nourishment lateral = side (of spinal cord) sclerosis= hardening, disease, destruction
The damage to the motor neuron damage and muscle atrophy caused by ALS is not painful. At least thatís what Doug Eshleman comments on his web site, www.loughrigsdisease.net He states that the motor neuron damage and the muscle atrophy caused by ALS is not painful, but that some of the effects of ALS may be, like pressure sores, constipation, burning eyes, muscle aches, and swelling of the feet.
A motor nerve is one of the nerves which carries impulses outward from the central nervous system to bring about activity in a muscle or gland. Some people believe that ALS begins at the synapses, which is the communication area between two neurons, where a nerve impulse is transmitted from one neuron to another (Neuron being the area that transmits messages throughout the body).
ALS is a progressive breakdown of the cells of the spinal cord resulting an gradual loss of muscle function. Symptoms sometimes are mistaken with neurological complications of lyme disease. The parts of the body that are involved are the central nervous system and the muscle system, especially in the hands, forearms, legs, head, and neck.
According to the book, Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery for People Over 50 , by H. Winter Griffith, M.D., there are certain considerations for aging, for instance, Neurological diseases become more likely. Usually signs and symptoms may be absent or may be replaced by symptoms of confusion, falling, weakness, and weight loss. The symptoms usually appear between ages 50 and 70. Older patients should stay as active as possible, because weakness will gradually limit their capability.
Experts say that if 3 limbs are affected with the transmitter area of the nerves, then you have total ALS, and will for sure die.
This disease effects men more often than women and is more common in whites than in blacks.
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