lou gehrig's disease,Causes,symptoms & treatment

Lou Gehrig’s disease, sometimes called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a progressive neurological illness that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS is named for the well-known baseball star Lou Gehrig, who was afflicted with the illness in the 1930s. The disease is typified by the progressive death and degradation of motor neurons, which results in the inability to move muscles voluntarily.

Causes of Lou Gehrig’s disease:

Lou Gehrig’s illness, often known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, has unclear exact etiology at this time. Nevertheless, evidence points to a complicated interaction between hereditary and environmental influences.

Considering the following important factors in relation to possible ALS causes:

Genetic Elements:

Familial ALS (fALS): 5–10% of ALS cases are deemed familial, denoting a history of the illness in the family. In some situations, the illness is inherited from one generation to the next, and particular genetic alterations are shown to be responsible.

Sporadic ALS (sALS): Ninety-five percent of cases of ALS are sporadic, meaning they don’t have a distinct family history. Genetic mutations or predispositions may raise the risk even in the absence of a clear genetic connection.

Environmental Elements:

Exposure to Toxins: ALS may develop as a result of exposure to specific environmental toxins or compounds, according to some research. The precise agents and their functions are not, however, known with certainty.

Occupational Exposures: A number of vocations have been looked into as possible risk factors, including those that include lead, heavy metals, or specific chemicals.

Stress by Oxidation: Increased oxidative stress, or reactive oxygen species, is linked to ALS when there is an imbalance between the body’s capacity to eliminate free radicals and their creation. Motor neuron death and cellular damage can both be attributed to oxidative stress.

Inflammation of the brain:

It is believed that neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the neurological system, contributes to ALS. It involves the central nervous system’s immune cells becoming activated, which may have an impact on the degeneration of motor neurons.

Glutamate’s toxicity to cells:  ALS has been linked to a glutamate neurotransmitter imbalance. Overstimulation of nerve cells can cause injury or death, a condition known as excitotoxicity, which is brought on by high glutamate levels.

lou gehrig’s disease symptoms

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is characterized by the gradual degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Each person will experience ALS symptoms differently, and the illness frequently manifests as a combination of the following symptoms:

Weakness of Muscle:

Weakness in one or both arms and legs is one of the initial symptoms. Usually, this weakness starts in one place and moves slowly to other bodily regions.

Twitching of the muscles, or fascicles:  In ALS, involuntary twitches of the muscles are referred to as fasciculations. These spasms may manifest in the face, limbs, arms, or other regions impacted by muscle weakness.

Hardness and Squeezing: It’s possible for muscles to stiffen up and have cramps. This may exacerbate issues with coordination and movement.

Speech Problems (Dysarthria): The speech muscles used in ALS might be affected, resulting in slurred or hard-to-understand speech. This could be one of the illness’s initial symptoms.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing: People with ALS may have trouble swallowing as their disease worsens. This may result in eating disorders and a higher chance of aspiration.

Unintentional Loss of Weight: Over time, changes in eating habits and swallowing difficulties may lead to inadvertent weight loss.

Atrophy of Muscles: The progressive loss of motor neurons leads to progressive muscular atrophy, or shrinkage. This can cause the afflicted bodily parts to fluctuate in size and shape, and it is frequently noticeable.

Motor Control Loss: People who have ALS may lose their ability to use their fine motor skills, which makes doing things like writing, buttoning shirts, and handling small objects difficult.

Weary: As the condition worsens, weakness and muscular atrophy may be factors in physical and mental exhaustion.

Issues with the Respiratory System: Breathing difficulties may arise from respiratory muscle damage in the latter stages of ALS. This is a serious issue and a frequent source of difficulties in patients with severe ALS.

lou gehrig’s disease diagnosis

When diagnosing Lou Gehrig’s illness, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), medical practitioners must perform a thorough evaluation. Due to the lack of a single, reliable test for ALS and the fact that its symptoms can sometimes be confused with those of other neurological disorders, making a diagnosis can be difficult.

Usually, the diagnostic procedure consists of the following elements:

Clinical Background and Physical Assessment:

A comprehensive medical history is taken in order to comprehend the beginning and development of symptoms. To evaluate muscle strength, reflexes, coordination, and other neurological processes, a neurological examination is performed.

Nerve Conduction Studies with Electromyography (EMG): Thin needles are inserted into particular muscles during an EMG procedure in order to record electrical activity. Studies on nerve conduction evaluate the efficiency with which electrical signals move along peripheral nerves. These tests assist in identifying denervation symptoms and determining if a pattern is consistent with ALS.

Imaging Research: A computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to rule out other illnesses, including spinal cord compression or structural abnormalities that can resemble ALS.

Tests on Blood and Urine: These examinations are done in order to rule out other possible reasons for the symptoms, like infections, autoimmune diseases, or metabolic issues.

Genetic Examination: Genetic testing may be advised to discover known ALS-related gene alterations in cases where there is a family history of ALS or a suspected genetic component. This is especially important in cases of familial ALS.

Spinal tap, or lumbar puncture: A lumbar puncture may be necessary in some circumstances to examine cerebrospinal fluid for anomalies that might point to different neurological disorders.

Clinical Advice and Supervision: For the diagnosis and continued care of patients with ALS, a multidisciplinary team of neurologists, pulmonologists, speech therapists, and other medical specialists may be engaged.

Fulfilling El Escorial Requirement: Clinical parameters typically utilized for ALS diagnosis include the El Escorial criteria. Based on the distribution of symptoms and the areas of the nervous system that are impacted, these criteria categorize the illness.

It’s crucial to remember that no one test can conclusively diagnose ALS, and part of the diagnostic process frequently include ruling out other potential causes. Furthermore, there are differences in the rate at which the disease progresses, and some people may have ALS that progresses more slowly than others.


lou gehrig’s disease treatment

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is incurable as of the January 2022 cutoff date. The main goals of ALS treatment are to control symptoms, enhance the patient’s quality of life, and offer supportive care. A multidisciplinary strategy combining several medical specialists is frequently employed to address the different demands of ALS patients. It’s critical to speak with medical professionals to get the most recent details on ALS treatments and breakthroughs.

Key elements in treating ALS include the following:


Currently, riluzole is the only ALS therapy drug that has received FDA approval. By lowering the release of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that may contribute to motor neuron destruction, riluzole may help reduce the progression of the condition.

Assistive Healthcare:

Physical Therapy: To preserve muscle strength, flexibility, and mobility, physical therapists can offer exercises and methods.

Occupational therapy: When necessary, occupational therapists aid patients with adaptive devices to help them adjust to changes in their daily routines.

Speech Therapy: Speech therapists help with swallowing problems and communication problems.

Nutritional Support: To address potential weight loss and nutritional deficits, a qualified dietitian may suggest dietary changes or supplements.

Helping Tools: For those with ALS, a variety of gadgets can be used to increase independence and improve quality of life, including walkers, braces, and communication assistance.

Support for Respiratory Systems: As ALS advances, respiratory muscles may be compromised, leading to difficulties breathing. To support breathing function, non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or mechanical ventilation may be advised.

Clinical Examinations: Some ALS patients may be able to take part in clinical studies. These trials look into novel therapies and measures meant to halt the disease’s progression.

Emotional and Psychological Support: ALS can be emotionally taxing to cope with. Individuals with ALS and their caregivers can receive psychological help from mental health specialists, support groups, and counseling programs.

Hospice Care and Palliative Care: Relieving symptoms and enhancing quality of life are the main goals of palliative care. In the latter stages of the illness, hospice care—which prioritizes support and comfort for the patient as well as their family—may be taken into consideration.

lou gehrig’s disease prevention

There is no known way to avoid Lou Gehrig’s illness, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as of my most recent information update in January 2022. Although the precise etiology of ALS is unknown, a complex interaction between genetic and environmental variables appears to be involved. Because of this, it is difficult to stop ALS from starting; hence, research into the illness and its treatments is the main priority.

There are no proven lifestyle modifications or treatments that can stop ALS because the disease’s origin is unknown. Ongoing research, however, is focused on learning more about the origins and risk factors of ALS, which may someday help develop preventative measures.

See a medical expert or genetic counselor if you are worried about ALS or if there is a family history of the condition. They can review any pertinent study findings, provide information on potential risk factors, and, if necessary, offer advice on genetic testing.

Future preventive measures may be influenced by the biological understanding of ALS and its possible risk factors, which will advance as research is conducted. Keeping up with the most recent research findings through reliable sources and, if qualified, taking part in clinical trials can help with the continuous efforts to solve the puzzle of ALS and discover treatments or preventative measures. For the most recent information and advice on neurological health, always seek the advice of healthcare professionals.



Research: Binod Pokherel 

Provided by: Binod Pokherel

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