Quantcast

ALS: What is it and how does it affect patients? - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

ALS: What is it and how does it affect patients?

Posted: Updated:
You may know it as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." It's amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Just about all of us have heard of it, but you might not know a lot about it -- what it is and what it does to those who are afflicted.

The first signs of ALS include weakness in the hands, legs or feet. This happens when ALS first strikes the central nervous system. The disease shuts down the body's motor neurons so that limbs and muscles become immobile. Eventually, sufferers are totally paralyzed, although they maintain full feeling throughout the body. At this point, only the heart and the digestive system can still function, because those muscles move involuntarily.

According to the ALS Association, the exact cause(s) of the disease have yet to be found. Although doctors have learned much more about it in recent years, there is still no known cure for ALS. The lone medication prescribed for ALS patients, riluzole, slows down its progression, but does not stop or reverse its effects. Although the disease affects each sufferer differently, the average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years. The ALS Association estimates that about 30,000 Americans suffer from it at any given time.


There are resources available for ALS patients throughout the U.S. Click here to find clinics, support groups and other help in your community.

  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Several arrested during parish, city drug investigations

    Several arrested during parish, city drug investigations

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:44:28 GMT
    Sheriff Steve Prator and Police Chief Willie Shaw announced the arrests of several people on drug charges following investigations in Caddo Parish and the City of Shreveport.
    Sheriff Steve Prator and Police Chief Willie Shaw announced the arrests of several people on drug charges following investigations in Caddo Parish and the City of Shreveport.
  • KTBS hosts online health forums, your input needed

    KTBS hosts online health forums, your input needed

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:37:04 GMT
    KTBS has joined up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana to get people around Shreveport eating better and moving more.
    KTBS has joined up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana to get people around Shreveport eating better and moving more.
  • Tip leads to discovery of missing man

    Tip leads to discovery of missing man

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:01 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:01:57 GMT
    Charles Smith, 79Charles Smith, 79
     A Shreveport man reported missing for more than a month, was located safely Monday afternoon in downtown Shreveport. 
     A Shreveport man reported missing for more than a month, was located safely Monday afternoon in downtown Shreveport. 
Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File