The awareness-raising campaign about health has succeeded all over the world. The awareness-raising campaign “Ice Bucket Challenge” has been spoken for a long time both in Turkey and in the world. Lots of famous people created awareness about the ‘amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS)’ by spilling a full bucket of iced water over their head. By this means, the curiosity about the ALS disease rapidly increased all over the world. As the new findings about ALS increases every year, the questions related to its causes and its treatment also gradually answered. Here are some facts about the ALS disease…
Are the chemical substances a cause for ALS?
ALS which has yet not a cure is observed in average one per 100 thousand every year in the world. Although its frequency is higher in Papua New Guinea and in a peninsula in Japan, the reason of this difference has not been defined yet. There are also some other question marks related to the disease which have not been identified. One of these question marks is the causes of ALS. Only in 10 percent of the disease is associated with genetic causes. Besides hereditary causes, the environmental factors also play an important role. Last studies show that the risk of ALS is higher in individuals who have been exposed to a chemical at any period of their lives. Several substances, from the fluoride found in the tooth pastes to ethyl alcohol can be included in this list. Of course it is not possible to state that each of them will cause the ALS disease on its own. Moreover the results of these studies should not be evaluated at definite facts. However, these developments will be the focus of the future studies. Tobacco can also be included in the list of such chemicals. Studies have shown that the ALS risk is 2 times more in smoking individuals compared to non-smokers.
Men below the age of 65, be careful!
ALS is generally seen between the ages of 40-60. Being observed more frequently in males before 65 years of age, this disease does not make a distinction after this age. In 10% of the ALS patients, the disease is caused by genetic factors and the inheritance ratio is observed at a level of 50%.
What are the signs of ALS?
Some of the most well-known signs of ALS are difficulty in walking, weakness in legs and feet, difficulty in swallowing and gruff-voiced, muscle cramps and twitching in muscles. The diseases generally initiates with muscle twitches in arm and legs and it spreads to all muscles enabling moving, talking, eating and breathing functions. ALS does not affect the control of intestine and bladder, sensory system and intelligence.
There is hope for ALS disease
ALS is not a curable disease regardless of the time of the diagnosis. However, nowadays the medical studies related to ALS are encouraging. There is no curative treatment for the disease. However, there is a medicine approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).This medicine can relatively the life time of an individual and it can partially postpone the time when breathing support is necessary. All these developments are only a beginning for mapping the ALS disease.
The importance of supportive treatment in ALS
The effects of the supportive treatments are very important in terms of the daily life functions. These supportive treatments where doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, pharmacist and dietician act together with the individual are important to minimize the loss of function related to the muscle and to increase the quality of life. There are also specialist for speaking for the ALS patients who have difficulties in talking. The support of physiotherapy and the technology supporting ALS increase the moving capabilities and the trust.