twitter google

10 Signs and Symptoms of ALS

Kimberly Love

If I was to ask whom of you knew what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (and I did), many of you would find yourself scratching your head with a resounding, “no.” However, if I was to ask you how many of you had watched a movie star, musician, politician or other famous people dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, I have a feeling that the answer to that question would be an overwhelming, “yes!”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, AKA ALS, or as many of you might simply know it as “the Ice Bucket Challenge disease,” is a progressive nervous system disease that affects both upper and lower motor neuron involvement. According to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, ALS is characterized by weakness and wasting in the limbs. Someone may notice they are tripping when walking or dropping things. Average life expectancy is from two to five years from onset of symptoms.

It seems that ALS has always been associated with celebrities, or at least since the 1930s when New York Yankee and eventual hall-of-fame baseball player Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with the disease. And while for many, the term ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease are ultimately interchangeable, it has only been in recent years that we have seen a resurgence in star power potential surrounding the disease – and we have social media to thank for that. Although, it might come as a surprise that initially, the Ice Bucket Challenge had nothing to do with ALS.

Originally, the Ice Bucket Challenge was, in and of itself, just a simple viral trend, not associated with any one charity, but the participant’s choice. It wasn’t until 2014 when a Florida golfer name Chris Kennedy selected ALS as his charity of choice and after posting the video on July 15 of that year; the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS were forever linked.

Since that time, it has been near impossible to go online, turn on the news or read a newspaper that hasn’t at one point or another mentioned or shown a celebrity participating in the challenge.
From titans of industry and business moguls Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg; Oprah; famed director Steven Spielberg; LeBron James; Governor Chris Christie and even President Elect Donald Trump. It’s easy to see why the challenge took social media by storm – who wouldn’t want to see their favorite public figures, or, least favorite public figures in some instances, dump a bucket of ice water on their heads for a good cause?

So how successful was it? To date, it is believed that the Ice Bucket Challenge alone has raised more than $115 million for ALS research. And while that figure is certainly money well spent on a disease that is diagnosed every 90 minutes; there is still a long way to go.

In about 5 to 10 percent of cases ALS is inherited; however, the rest of the time researchers are still somewhat baffled. Some believe that a gene mutation is responsible, leading to the same symptoms as the non inherited form. Others believe that a chemical imbalance is to blame or maybe a disorganization in the immune response. Regardless of the root cause, one thing we do know for certain is that ALS is a fatal diagnosis until a cure is found.

While it cannot be argued that the spread of information and support for ALS has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, it is still a relatively unknown disease to the general public. This in itself begs the question; how would you know you had it?

Keeping with the momentum of the Ice Bucket Challenge and always airing on the side of public health, we have done the research and put together the facts in order to provide you with 10 signs and symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
If I was to ask whom of you knew what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (and I did), many of you would find yourself scratching your head with a resounding, “no.” However, if I was to ask you how many of you had watched a movie star, musician, politician or other famous people dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, I have a feeling that the answer to that question would be an overwhelming, “yes!”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, AKA ALS, or as many of you might simply know it as “the Ice Bucket Challenge disease,” is a progressive nervous system disease that affects both upper and lower motor neuron involvement. According to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, ALS is characterized by weakness and wasting in the limbs. Someone may notice they are tripping when walking or dropping things. Average life expectancy is from two to five years from onset of symptoms.

It seems that ALS has always been associated with celebrities, or at least since the 1930s when New York Yankee and eventual hall-of-fame baseball player Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with the disease. And while for many, the term ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease are ultimately interchangeable, it has only been in recent years that we have seen a resurgence in star power potential surrounding the disease – and we have social media to thank for that. Although, it might come as a surprise that initially, the Ice Bucket Challenge had nothing to do with ALS.

Originally, the Ice Bucket Challenge was, in and of itself, just a simple viral trend, not associated with any one charity, but the participant’s choice. It wasn’t until 2014 when a Florida golfer name Chris Kennedy selected ALS as his charity of choice and after posting the video on July 15 of that year; the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS were forever linked.

Since that time, it has been near impossible to go online, turn on the news or read a newspaper that hasn’t at one point or another mentioned or shown a celebrity participating in the challenge.
From titans of industry and business moguls Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg; Oprah; famed director Steven Spielberg; LeBron James; Governor Chris Christie and even President Elect Donald Trump. It’s easy to see why the challenge took social media by storm – who wouldn’t want to see their favorite public figures, or, least favorite public figures in some instances, dump a bucket of ice water on their heads for a good cause?

So how successful was it? To date, it is believed that the Ice Bucket Challenge alone has raised more than $115 million for ALS research. And while that figure is certainly money well spent on a disease that is diagnosed every 90 minutes; there is still a long way to go.

In about 5 to 10 percent of cases ALS is inherited; however, the rest of the time researchers are still somewhat baffled. Some believe that a gene mutation is responsible, leading to the same symptoms as the non inherited form. Others believe that a chemical imbalance is to blame or maybe a disorganization in the immune response. Regardless of the root cause, one thing we do know for certain is that ALS is a fatal diagnosis until a cure is found.

While it cannot be argued that the spread of information and support for ALS has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, it is still a relatively unknown disease to the general public. This in itself begs the question; how would you know you had it?

Keeping with the momentum of the Ice Bucket Challenge and always airing on the side of public health, we have done the research and put together the facts in order to provide you with 10 signs and symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Follow RM Healthy

Search

New Articles