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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurological disease that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that will result in disability. It is also a degenerative disease and is incurable. However, treatment is known to extend the length of the survival rate and will allow the patient to live a quality life.

There is no known cause of ALS; however, there are factors that can contribute the chance of getting ALS.
The initial signs that a person has ALS begin with muscle twitching and a weakness in or more extremity, followed by slurred speech and eventually will affect the control of the muscles responsible for controlling movement, speaking, eating breathing. Additional symptoms include:

  • Unable to walk properly
  • Having trouble doing normal daily tasks
  • Can easily trip and fall
  • There is marked weakness in the leg, feet or ankles
  • Weakness in the hands or clumsiness
  • Cannot speak very well, often times slurred and have trouble swallowing
  • There is constant twitching in the arms, shoulders, and tongue, muscle cramps are also present
  • Having trouble keeping a good posture including holding the head up

The very first muscles affected when you have ALS are the muscles in the hands, feet and limps and it will spread to other parts of the body. As the disease progresses, the muscles become more and more weaken since more nerve cells are being destroyed by the disease.

ALS doesn’t usually affect the control of your bowel and bladder movements, the senses and mental health.

There is no known cause of ALS, but experts have several theories that could possibly contribute to the development of ALS. These are:

Gene Mutation – genetic mutation can lead to the development of ALS
Chemical imbalance – people with ALS are found to have increased level of glutamate, a chemical messenger found in the brain. When there is an elevated level of glutamate, it is known to cause damage to some nerve cells.
Chaotic immune response – when the immune system attacks its own cells, it’s called autoimmune disease, and this might also be the case of nerve cells being destroyed
Mishandled protein – when there is protein build up in the cells, these are known to cause destroy nerve cells.

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If you think you are suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).