What You Need to Know About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Medical Matters 28 October 2014 | 0 Comments

Have you heard about the ice bucket challenge? This challenge went viral here in Singapore because famous celebrities did it. There are others who tried it without truly understanding what it signifies. Let it be known that the challenge tries to raise awareness about the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).


This disease is not exclusive in United States because here in Singapore, there are people who are enduring this disease. ALS is alternatively called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Here are some things that you need to know about ALS:

  • Signs and symptoms: ALS is characterized by atrophy and muscle weakness all over the body. This is because of the degeneration of the lower and upper motor neurons. The symptoms include muscle weakness like cramping, stiffness, slurred nasal speech, trouble swallowing, difficulty in speaking, etc. The advance stage would affect eye and bowel movement.


  • Causes: There are many causes if ALS. One of the most common causes is genetics. If the condition runs in the family, there is a greater risk of contracting ALS. If the family has no history of ALS, there are potential causes to include head trauma, drug abuse, contact sports and military service.
  • Diagnosis: You should know that no test can give a definite diagnosis. The diagnosis will be based on the patient’s signs and symptoms. Physicians can conduct neurological examinations to asses if the symptoms are getting worse.
  • Management: ALS can be managed through medications, therapy nutrition, breathing support and palliative care.

Hopefully you now understand what the challenge is all about. The ice bucket challenge surely raised a lot of donations for the patients.


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