Als – The death of Sandra Bullock’s longtime boyfriend with ALS has raised public awareness of the condition once more.
According to family members, Bryan Randall died after a three-year fight with the cancer, which he decided to keep hidden from the start.
“Those of us who cared for him did our best to honor his request,” the statement stated in part.
What you need know about the disease is as follows.
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Table of Contents
What Precisely is ALS?
ALS, which stands for “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” is a condition characterized by gradual degradation of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
ALS affects motor neurons, or nerve cells that control voluntary muscular movements such as walking and speech, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
“ALS causes both groups of motor neurons to deteriorate and die gradually.” Motor neurons stop delivering messages to the muscles when they are injured. As a result, the muscles are unable to operate,” according to one section of the Mayo Clinic website.
According to the website, the ailment is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to his Wikipedia biography, Lou Gehrig was a professional baseball player in the United States who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939 and died in 1941.
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What Actually causes ALS?
What is the root cause of ALS?
Experts do not know what causes ALS, according to the website of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s ALS website, a genetic etiology can be found in approximately 10% of patients with ALS.
“Most theories revolve around a complex interaction between genes and environmental factors,” according to a section of the Mayo Clinic’s ALS website.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, some documented risk factors for ALS include: age, with ALS most frequent between the ages of 60 and the mid-80s.
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Gender, with men developing ALS slightly more than women before the age of 65. However, the gender difference fades at the age of 70.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other environmental factors, such as smoking, exposure to environmental toxins, and military duty, have also been linked to an increased risk of ALS.
“It’s unclear what aspects of military service may cause ALS.” Exposure to specific metals or chemicals, traumatic injuries, viral infections, or excessive exertion are all examples,” according to a section of the Mayo Clinic website.
According to the website of Johns Hopkins Medicine, ALS is not contagious, which means it cannot be passed from person to person like the common cold or flu.
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What are the signs of ALS?
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, persons with ALS may first experience limb weakness that develops over a period of days or weeks.
“Several weeks to months later, weakness in another limb develops.” “Slurred speech or difficulty swallowing may be the initial problem,” according to a section of the website.
According to the website, as ALS advances, other symptoms may appear. The symptoms are as follows:
- Twitching and cramping of muscles, particularly those in the hands and feet
- motor control loss in the hands and arms
- Arm and leg impairment
- trip and fall
- Dropping objects
- Persistent tiredness
- Uncontrollable bouts of laughter and sobbing
According to the website, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and paralysis are additional signs of the disease in its final stages.
Some persons with AMS may develop frontotemporal dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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How may ALS be diagnosed?
A healthcare provider will do a physical exam and ask about a person’s medical history, according to the Cleveland Clinic’s website. Several other theses, including
- Tests of blood and urine
- A neurological examination is performed.
- An electromyogram is a test used to assess the electrical activity of a person’s nerves and muscles.
- A nerve conduction study to measure the ability of nerves to deliver a signal an MRI to check for areas of damage in a person’s brain or spine
- Other procedures, including as spinal fluid tests and muscle and/or nerve biopsy, may be performed to rule out other disorders that exhibit similar symptoms.
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Is ALS curable?
There is no cure for ALS, according to the websites of the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Is ALS treatable?
Treatments for ALS, according to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, may include the following:
- Exercise therapy
- nutritional advice
- Speech and language therapy
- Wheelchairs and electric beds are examples of assistive devices and specialty equipment.
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What can I do to reduce my chances of acquiring ALS?
There is no established way to prevent ALS, according to the Cleveland Clinic website.
What is the prognosis for people suffering with ALS?
People with ALS normally live for three to five years following diagnosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic website, but some can live for ten years or more.
“A person’s prognosis depends on how quickly the symptoms progress,” a section of the website stated.
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Is there anyone else famous who has the disease?
Aside from Lou Gehrig and Bryan Randall, a number of well-known people have been diagnosed with or died from ALS.
Scientist Stephen Hawking died from ALS in 2018 after surviving with the condition for almost 50 years, as did Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, both of whom started the Ice Bucket Challenge, which went widespread on social media for a while. Frates passed away in 2019, while Quinn passed away in 2020.
Singer Roberta Flack and former Chicago Bears football player Steve McMichael are two such celebrities who have ALS.
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