Please call the office to check schedule availability.

Myths and Facts About ALS

Myths and Facts About ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known commonly as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare neurological disorder. It’s a progressive disease that gets worse with time, and doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes it. 

Various campaigns and challenges have drawn attention to ALS in recent years, but some misconceptions continue to persist in the public consciousness. Luckily, myths are easily dispelled with facts. 

At The Spine and Sports Center in Sugarland and Houston, Texas, Dr. Ed Benny provides services for patients with neurological challenges like ALS. Here are his “must-know” myths and facts about ALS.

An overview of ALS 

Named after a famous baseball player diagnosed in 1939, Lou Gehrig’s disease is a degenerative condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. Over time, those diagnosed with ALS will slowly begin to lose functioning, leading to the following effects: 

The symptoms of ALS will gradually worsen over time. Treatment involves making sure the person is well cared for, comfortable, and as healthy as possible. This often requires caretakers, mental health professionals, social workers, speech therapists, and neurologists. 

Myths and facts about ALS

Like any other disease, there’s a lot of false information surrounding ALS. Compared to other conditions, we know very little about Lou Gerhig’s disease, what causes it, and how to treat it. The more gaps in our knowledge, the more other people try to fill them, which can lead to harmful myths.

Myth: ALS only causes motor impairment 

Fact: Up to 50% of people diagnosed with ALS also experience cognitive decline, with some going on to develop dementia. After an ALS diagnosis, it’s important to be prepared for anything — and cognitive impairment is never off the table. 

Myth: ALS only affects older people 

Fact: Lou Gerhig himself was diagnosed in his mid-30s, and the median age for diagnosis is around the mid-50s. Unlike other degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, teenagers and seniors alike can develop ALS. 

Myth: ALS is caused by Lyme disease

Fact: Early symptoms of ALS closely match that of Lyme disease, including fatigue, weakness, and muscle twitches. However, there is no link between these two conditions. 

Myth: ALS is usually hereditary

Fact: While familial ALS accounts for 5-10% of cases, most are sporadic. This means no cause is known. Men seem to be slightly more susceptible than women, and smoking and lead exposure have been identified as possible risks, but the cause of ALS isn’t understood. 

Learning more about ALS

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you’re probably looking for answers. Online research can be a great way to learn more and connect with other people affected by this disease, but only a specialist can confirm or deny what you learn. 

Dr. Benny is happy to help clear up misconceptions and answer any questions you may have about ALS. Schedule a consultation today by calling our location closest to you, or visit our contact page for more information.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Ways to Reduce Your Low Back Pain

Low back pain affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. For those unlucky enough to have chronic back pain, lifestyle changes can help support medical treatment.

Is Sleep Medicine Safe?

Not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep can be debilitating over time. Sleep medicine can help you get to the Land of Nod, but is it really safe to take such medications long-term?

Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury

A shoulder injury can mean a pause in your sports career, but trying to go back to play too soon can cause even more damage. Here’s what you need to know about returning to sports after a shoulder injury.

How PRP Can Treat Your Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff tear can cause lasting pain and mobility issues. However, minimally-invasive procedures like PRP may be able to give you relief and allow you to heal without surgery.

You Don't Have to Live with Migraines

Everyone’s migraines are different. With help from a specialist, you can identify your unique triggers and build a treatment plan that addresses your needs.