Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Lou Gehrig Disease

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig Disease is a nervous system disease that attacks the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was found in 1869 by Jean-Martin Charcot a French neurologist. It was not until 1939 when Lou Gehrig announced that he had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which ended his baseball career at the age of 36 that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis made national attention. “It is estimated that about 30,000 patients in this country have the disease and about 5,000 are diagnosed with Amyotrophic Later Sclerosis every year” (Laret, Mark R). There are many famous people who have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig Disease. Professor Stephen Hawking, Stephen Michael "Steve" Gleason, and …show more content…
Patients may also experience problems with coordination, muscle and vocal cord spasms, or overactive reflexes. In late stages, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients have trouble swallowing and speaking. When Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients are unable to swallow, choking or aspirating food into the lungs can occur. It is common for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients to need a feeding tube. This is due to not being able to swallow or maintain a healthy weight. Once respiratory muscles are effected a permanent ventilator is needed. Muscles that are involuntary that control functions of the body like, the heart, gastrointestinal tract, bladder, and sexual function will not be directly affected but Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis can indirectly affect these body parts due to the inability to …show more content…
The motor neurons serve as the body’s way to communicate. Upper motor neurons in the brain send messages to the lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis the neurons die or degenerate, which stops communication to the voluntary muscles. As the neurons stop sending messages to the muscles, the muscles gradually waste away, this is known as atrophy. Eventually all voluntary muscles lose the ability to move. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis does not affect the mind but some patients can develop cognitive problems and depression. Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis will not lose the ability to smell, see, hear, taste, or recognize

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