Definition of Lou Gehrig's disease
Lou Gehrig's disease also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and usuallyfatal disorder that attacks the nerves and muscles.It is sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the famed New York Yankee slugger whosedeath in 1941 was caused by this disorder.
Description of Lou Gehrig's disease
Amyotrophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers tomuscle, and "trophic" means nourishment: "No muscle nourishment."When a muscle has no nourishment, it atrophies, or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areasin a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that nourish the muscles are located.As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or "sclerosis" in the region.ALS is a motor neuron disease. It affects the nerve cells that control the muscles we movevoluntarily. In this disease, nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, known as motor neurons,gradually degenerate, causing the muscles under their control to weaken and waste away.ALS victims eventually become disabled, have difficulty speaking and swallowing, and maysuccumb to infections, particularly pneumonia.While the disease paralyzes the "voluntary" muscles, patients remain alert and are able to thinkclearly, so that they can find ways to communicate without speech. The five senses areunaffected, and most patients maintain control over their bowels and bladder. For somepatients, using these remaining abilities can be the springboard to cope with the disease.The most common form of ALS is known as "sporadic" ALS. It may affect anyone at anytime.Other terms used to categorize variants of the classical form of ALS include spinal muscularatrophy, progressive bulbar palsy and primary lateral sclerosis.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lou Gehrig's disease
"Familial", ALS suggests the disease is inherited, although no heredity pattern exists in themajority of ALS cases. About 5 to 10 percent of all ALS patients appear to have a genetic orinherited component. In those families, 50 percent of the all offspring are expected to have thedisease.