Lou Gehrig’s disease is the common name for a condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, a group of rare disease that affect the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscle movement. While ALS is rare, it is serious and progressive.
What is ALS?
ALS is the name used to describe a group of rare neurological diseases that impact muscles. Voluntary muscles are the muscles that produce routine movements such as talking, walking, and chewing food.
Lou Gehrig’s disease is progressive, which means that the symptoms worsen over time. It is part of a group of disorders called motor neuron diseases, which link the brain and voluntary muscles. In people with ALS, the motor neurons degenerate and die. Over time, the muscles weaken, twitch, and atrophy.
ALS is diagnosed with muscle and imaging tests, including electromyography and a nerve conduction study. Lab studies may also be used to eliminate other causes of the symptoms. There is no known cause for ALS, although it’s possible that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.