Today there are as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States that have ALS with an estimated 5,000 people being diagnosed with the disease each year. While the disease can affect all races and ethnic backgrounds, it is more common among men than in women. The typical onset of ALS is generally between the ages of forty and sixty, however, individuals that are younger and older can also develop the disease as well. There are no clear risk factors associated in 90 to 95 percent of all sporadic or noninherited forms ALS. Only five to ten percent of all diagnosis’s are inherited from one parent who carries the gene responsible for the disease(2). It is clear that there are many statistics surrounding ALS with such a wide range of unknown potential causes, but what do medical professional know about it thus far?
ALS is a rapidly progressive motor neuron disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Upper motor neurons within the brain are responsible for transmitting vital communication links betw...
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...BIPAP(bi-level positive airway pressure)to allow for proper breathing while asleep. Inevitably, patients may even consider the use of other forms of mechanical ventilation for survival. Although ventilation support can help ease problems with breathing as well as prolong survival, it does affect the patient’s quality of life and cost.
Over the course of time, advancements in technology have helped to find many potential causes for ALS, however, it is yet to be completely understood. Perhaps on day there will be efficient test(s) to effectively determine a cause of ALS. Once a determination is made on the exact cause of the disease, medical professionals can then began discovering new means of treatment, thus potentially leading to a cure some day. Until then, ALS will remain difficult to diagnose with limited treatment options and an inevitable outcome.
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