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Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis and Polysaccharides



Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is known more famously as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a degenerative disease that affects the nerve cells located in the spinal column and the brain. As the disease progresses, the muscles of the body become weaker and atrophy to the point of eventual paralysis and ultimately death. There is no known cure for ALS, nor is there any treatment currently proven to halt or reverse the progression of this disease.

 

Relevant Terms

It is worth taking a moment to familiarize yourself with some terms that will help you to better understand a discussion about ALS.

  • Amyotrophic: This is a Greek word and broken down into its component parts, it means simply "no muscle nourishment."
  • Atrophy: To waste away.
  • Lateral: The areas in your spinal column where the nerve cells that regulate your muscles are housed.
  • Motor Neurons: Neurons are the basic units of the nervous system that conducts the signals from the brain to other parts of your body. Motor Neurons go from the brain to the spinal column and from the spinal column out to the muscles of the body. Their job is to regulate muscle movement.
  • Sclerosis: Thickening or hardening of a body part.

 

Symptoms of ALS

  • Muscle Weakness: This can be in the arms, legs, hands and can affect the speech. This may occur in only one or in all of the above mentioned areas.
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Difficulty Speaking or Projecting your Voice
  • Difficulty in Swallowing: This is found in the more advanced stages.
  • Shortness of Breath: Again, this is seen in the more advanced stages.
  • Paralysis: This comes at the absolute most advanced stage and will begin slowly with difficulty using your arms and legs.

 

ALS affects each individually differently. The symptoms experienced, their severity and the timeline of progression will differ depending upon the individual. Muscle weakness is the most common symptom of ALS and affects roughly 60 percent afflicted with this disease.

Muscle weakness in the hands or feet are generally first, and you may find yourself tripping over carpet or dropping things that are not ordinarily heavy for you. As this is a progressive, degenerative disease, the symptoms get worse and spread. The average survival time after being diagnosed with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis is three to five years, though there are many who survive up to ten years. There has also been cases of individuals having their ALS halted or remitted without any currently known cause.

There are also high instances of depression among those diagnosed with ALS. The causes of this depression are obvious, but as it is important to make those suffering from ALS still retain a high quality of life, it is important to treat this depression as with any other symptom.

 

What Causes ALS

Currently there is no known cause for ALS and studies are ongoing to determine causes and risk factors. Presently, there is little more than the statistics accumulated as to who is more likely to acquire Low Gehrig's Disease.

Here are some raw numbers concerning those who have been diagnosed with ALS in the United States.

  • 60 percent are men
  • 93 percent are Caucasian
  • Average age at the time of diagnosis is 55
  • 5,600 people each year in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS
  • As age increases, the gap between the number of men and women who acquire ALS shrinks.
  • In Guam, during the 1950's, there was an alarming number of cases diagnosed.
  • Only about 5-10 percent of diagnosed cases are considered to be hereditary.

 

Polysaccharides

polysaccharides support the body to heal and repair itself. It is smart to research the connection between polysaccharides and wellness. As your body ages, its ability to repair itself and maintain good health becomes less effective. The daily exposure to toxins in your environment and diet takes a toll on your body. It has become increasing apparent through research that a good diet does not simply mean taking in those vitamins, minerals and calories that are essential for daily life. polysaccharides, licopene found in tomatoes is a common example, are found to help the body rid itself of the toxins that, over time, reduce your ability to maintain good health.

polysaccharides are naturally occurring substances found in our foods, but supplements can be taken to ensure the proper amount that your body needs. One of the benefits that have been discovered concerning polysaccharides is that they can give you a feeling of well-being. This has been seen as a natural way to aid those suffering from depression.

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