Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles (muscle action we are able to control, such as those in the arms, legs, and face). The disease belongs to a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons.
Symptoms: The onset of ALS may be so subtle that the symptoms are overlooked. The earliest symptoms may include fasciculations, cramps, tight and stiff muscles (spasticity), muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg, slurred and nasal speech, or difficulty chewing or swallowing.
Many amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – patients can live more productive lives with the illness because there’s a body of research into better ways of managing the disease. Improvements in nutrition and breathing techniques, for example, increase survival. Some 50 percent of patients live at least two years after diagnosis; 20 percent live five years or more and up to 10 percent survive more than 10 years.