Working to Provide a Better Quality of Life for the ALS Community
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that destroys motor neurons, which are among the largest of all nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons are responsible for sending messages to muscles throughout the body. When the motor neurons can no longer send impulses to the muscles due to ALS, the muscles begin to waste away (atrophy), causing increased muscle weakness. Motor neuron (or nerve cell) death makes it impossible for the brain to control muscles or signal them to move. Eventually, most muscles are affected, including those of the legs and feet, arms and hands, and those that control swallowing and breathing.
Facts About ALS
ALS is not a rare disease. Of the U.S. population living today, over 250,000 Americans will die from ALS.
ALS is not contagious.
It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually. More people die every year of ALS than of Huntington's disease (about 5 times higher) or multiple sclerosis.
A little over 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis. Half of all affected live more than three years after diagnosis.
ALS can strike anyone, of any race or ethnic background, at any age.
Approximately 80% of cases begin between the ages of 40 - 70.
The financial cost to families of persons with ALS is exceedingly high. It is estimated that in the advanced stages, care can cost an average of $200,000 a year. Patients' and relatives' entire savings are quickly depleted because of the extraordinary cost involved in the care of ALS patients.