Lou Gehrigs Disease

The other name for Lou Gehrig's Disease is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS. If you analyze the whole term you would discover the fact that:

“a” stands for without,
“myo” stands for muscle,
“trophic” stands for nourishment ,
“lateral” stands for the side of the spinal chord, and
“sclerosis” stands for scarring and hardening.

Lou Gehrig's Disease is caused when your muscles lack essential nourishment. As a result the muscles appear small and weak. The term lateral identifies the affected side of the spinal chord where the nerves, which nourish the muscles, are located. On the other hand, the term sclerosis refers to the damaged part of the spinal chord that gradually develops into hardened or scarred tissue by replacing healthy nerves.

The disease has been named after Lou Gehrig – a famous baseball player of New York Yankees. This famous sport personality was detected to be suffering from this particular disease during the 1930's. However, the inhabitants of Australia and England know this disease by the name Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

This disease can progress rapidly. Moreover, it is a fatal neurological malady, since the nerve cells, which are responsible for controlling the voluntary muscles, are damaged. This disease is a part of a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, in which the motor neurons gradually degenerate and ultimately die.

Motor neurons are kinds of nerve cells situated in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. Motor neurons are responsible for interlinking the nervous system and the voluntary muscles of the body. When one suffers from Lou Gehrig's Disease both the upper and the lower motor neurons are damaged and finally they die out and are unable to send messages to the muscles of your body. With time the muscles become weak and brain loses its ability to control the voluntary movement of the muscles.

Effects of Lou Gehrig's Disease

Those suffering from this disease are unable to move their legs, arms and body. Due to failure of the muscles of the chest and diaphragm the patient is unable to breathe and this necessitates ventilatory support. Most victims of Lou Gehrig's Disease die because they are unable to breathe.

However, as the disease only affects the motor neurons, it doesn't usually damage the individual's intelligence, mind, memory and personality. Even the person does not have to face any problem in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things. Moreover, there is no hindrance in the usual maintenance of eye muscles, bladder and bowel functions.

The usual symptoms of Lou Gehrig's Disease

Weak muscles affecting arms and legs
Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
Tendency of slurred and nasal speech
Muscle cramp and stiffness

How to treat the disease

There exists curable treatment for Lou Gehrig's Disease. However, a drug called riluzole has been recommended by FDA to treat this particular disease. Riluzole saves the motor neurons from being damaged by reducing the release of glutamate. This disease-specific therapy increases the hope for patient's survival by extending the time before which the patients requires ventilatory support.

There are several other treatments too. These treatments for Lou Gehrig's Disease can successfully relieve symptoms and help the patient survive with health and vitality.

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