What Is Lou Gehrig's Disease?

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Lou Gehrig's Disease, scientifically known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a disorder that attacks the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This causes the inability to properly control muscle movement. Lou Gehrig's disease is rare among children and is usually diagnosed in adults between the ages 40 and 70. The disease is not contagious and is not spread through human contact.

Symptoms

  • Muscle weakness in the arms and legs is an early sign of Lou Gehrig's disease. Other symptoms include stumbling, falling, inability to hold items in your hands, having trouble speaking and muscle cramping or twitching.

Diagnosis

  • Doctors will perform various tests to rule out other possible neurological diseases. Electromyogram (EMG), spinal taps, biopsy, blood, urine and X-rays are some of the tests that help identify muscle and nerve damage.

Treatment

  • Medications are prescribed to alleviate muscle aches and difficulty swallowing. Physical therapy can help patients regain muscle movement. Home care can be prescribed for those families having difficulty dealing with the effects of the disease.

Affects

  • Lou Gehrig's disease will not prevent you from engaging in normal activities. You will still have all of your five senses, and you will still be able to think and learn normally. While medications and therapies can relieve some of the symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease, this is a fatal disorder.

Facts

  • The disease is named after a famous New York Yankees baseball player who was stricken with ALS in the 1930s.

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