What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
In ALS, nerve cells (neurons) waste away or die, and can no longer send messages to muscles. When the muscles in the chest area stop working, it becomes hard or impossible to breathe on one's own.
ALS does not affect the senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch). It only rarely affects bladder or bowel function, or a person's ability to think or reason.
Patients with ALS tend to lose weight. The illness itself increases the need for food and calories. At the same time, problems with swallowing make it hard to eat enough.
There is no known cure for ALS.
Over time, people with ALS progressively lose the ability to function and care for themselves.
Death often occurs within 3 - 5 years of diagnosis. About 25% of patients survive for more than 5 years after diagnosis.
Our goal is to END ALS and improve the lives of patients and families battling this disease.