Als Disease– The death of actress Sandra Bullock’s longtime companion from ALS has raised public awareness of the condition yet again.
Bryan Randall died after a three-year struggle with the cancer, according to family members, who wanted to keep the battle quiet from the start.
“Those of us who cared for him did our best to honor his request,” a piece of the statement said.
Here’s what you should know about the condition.
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Table of Contents
What is ALS?
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, ALS, which stands for “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” is a disease characterized by gradual degradation of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, ALS affects motor neurons, or nerve cells that control voluntary muscular movements such as walking and speech.
“ALS causes both groups of motor neurons to deteriorate and then die.” When motor neurons are injured, they stop delivering messages to the muscles. As a result, the muscles are unable to operate,” according to a section of the Mayo Clinic’s website.
According to the website, the ailment is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s ailment. According to his section in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 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 causes ALS?
The cause of ALS is unknown, according to the website of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s ALS webpage, roughly 10% of persons with ALS have a hereditary etiology.
“Most theories center on a complex interaction between genes and environmental factors,” according to one 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.
Gender, with somewhat more men than women acquiring ALS before the age of 65. However, the gender difference vanishes at the age of 70.
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Other environmental factors, such as smoking, exposure to environmental toxins, and military duty, have also been linked to an elevated risk of ALS, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s unclear what aspect of military service may cause ALS.” “It could include exposure to certain metals or chemicals, traumatic injuries, viral infections, or intense exertion,” 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 a cold or the flu.
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What are the signs and symptoms of ALS?
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, patients with ALS may experience weakness in a leg that develops over a period of days or weeks.
“Then, several weeks to months later, weakness develops in another limb.” “The initial problem may be slurred speech or difficulty swallowing,” according to a section of the website.
According to the website, as ALS advances, more symptoms may be observed. The following are some of the symptoms:
- Muscle twitching and cramping, especially in the hands and feet
- Motor control of the hands and arms is lost.
- Arm and leg weakness
- tripping and falling
- Dropping stuff
- Persistent tiredness
- Uncontrollable bursts of laughter and sobbing
According to the website, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and paralysis are all indications of the disease in its final stages.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some persons with AMS may develop frontotemporal dementia.
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How is ALS diagnosed?
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, a healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask about a person’s medical history. Several more theses will be performed to confirm an ALS diagnosis, including
- Blood and urine tests
- A neurological examination
- An electromyogram is a test that measures the electrical activity of a person’s nerves and muscles.
- A nerve conduction investigation to assess the ability of nerves to convey signals an MRI to examine a person’s brain or spine for regions of damage
- Other procedures, including as spinal fluid tests and muscle and/or nerve biopsy, may be performed to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.
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Can ALS be cured?
There is no cure for ALS, according to the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine websites.
Are there any ALS treatments?
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, medications that help decrease the course of ALS include the following:
- Physical treatment
- Nutritional guidance
- Speech therapy
- Wheelchairs and electric beds are two examples of assistive devices and special equipment.
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What can I do to avoid getting ALS?
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, there is no established strategy to prevent ALS.
What is the prognosis for people with ALS?
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, persons with ALS normally live for three to five years after diagnosis, but others can live for ten years or more.
“A person’s prognosis depends on how quickly the symptoms progress,” according to a section of the website.
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Are there any other prominent persons that have the disease?
Aside from Lou Gehrig and Bryan Randall, a number of well-known people have been diagnosed with ALS or have died from the disease.
Scientist Stephen Hawking, who died in 2018 after living with the condition for over 50 years, as well as Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, both of whom developed the Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral on social media for a while. Frates died in 2019, while Quinn died in 2020.
Other celebrities who have ALS include singer Roberta Flack and former Chicago Bears football player Steve McMichael.
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