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.

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

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).

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

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

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

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.