Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Awareness Month is the month of May.
ALS Awareness Month is a drive to raise awareness and funds for research to cure ALS. ALS is an acronym for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought attention to this devastating disease. Lou Gehrig was an all-star baseball player who lost his battle to ALS in 1941. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The motor neurons that reach from the brain and spinal reach to the muscles found throughout the body. The signals sent by these motor neurons are responsible for controlling voluntary actions. This degeneration and even death of motor neurons leads to the inability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is not contagious.
It is approximated 20,000 Americans can have the disease at any given time. Approximately 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. That is 15 new cases a day. Most people who develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are between the ages of 40 and 70. ALS knows no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. Though military veterans are 2 times more likely to develop the disease. 60% of diagnosed cases are of men, and 93% are Caucasian. ALS is a difficult disease to diagnosis. There is no 1 test that can give a diagnosis, only a series of clinical tests given by examination that can hint to the disease. CompassionCare Hospice wants you to help advocate ALS.