Quick Facts about ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
If you’ve never heard of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), you may know it as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. But even then, you may not know much about what it is or how it affects the 2500 to 3000 Canadians who have the disease or the 1000 more who will be diagnosed with it each year.
Here are seven quick facts about ALS.
1. ALS is a progressive nerve disease where the nerves that control muscle movement die, leading to loss of speech, mobility and the ability to breathe.
2. ALS is terminal, and it’s the most common cause of neurological death in Canada.
3. The cause of ALS is unknown.
4. ALS is not contagious.
5. Although ALS affects muscles, the patient’s senses are not impaired, and cognitive function is often unaffected.
6. Less than 10% of ALS cases are hereditary.
7. ALS can affect anyone of any age, but the majority of cases are diagnosed in middle or late adulthood, between the ages of 55 and 65.
The ALS Society of Alberta has more information about ALS and a listing of events around the province to commemorate ALS Awareness Month in June. You can find the website here.
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