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Everything You Need to Know About ALS

Unfortunately, the world’s one and only Stephen Hawking died on March 14 due to ALS. With all the buzz surrounding the passing of this brilliant man, you may be wanting to know more about the disease that took him away from this world, and possible ways that you can help others research this and potentially find a cure. ALS has affected many people, some you may know, such as Lou Gehrig, after whom the disease is commonly referred to as. There have also been novels written about how this affects lives, one of the most popular being Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. The way in which this disease has impacted our world has been detrimental to our spirits, and it is crucial that we learn all that we can about this in order to find a cure.

Courtesy: Business Insider

ALS is a disorder that affects nerve and muscle function in the body. Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. More than 20,000 Americans have the disease. There are countless studies that have been and are currently being conducted to investigate the possible risks that may be linked to ALS. A definite cause has not been found, but it is known, that military veterans, particularly those deployed during the Gulf War, are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.  Most people who are diagnosed with ALS are between the ages of 40-70. Upon diagnosis, patients are usually given a life expectancy of two to five years. Once ALS starts, it almost always progresses, taking away the abilities to walk, write, dress, swallow, speak and breathe. Although this disease progresses quickly, it is not common for conditions to worsen in a consistent way. Often times people have periods where there is little to no loss of function. It is unpredictable how the disease will affect each individual’s body. “ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries and can affect anyone. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans may be living with ALS at any given time,” according to the ALS Association website. Costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving can pile up quickly. It is important to pay attention to your health plan coverage and potentially seek financial help from charities or other organizations.

Getting involved with organizations that conduct research and raise money for those battling ALS is a great way to help make a difference. The ALS Association is an American nonprofit organization that raises money for patient services and research to promote awareness for ALS. The organization has called people to become ALS Advocates, who aid in fighting for issues that relate to ALS. These dedicated advocates are located all over the nation and are working hard to lead us closer to a world rid of ALS. We have the power to make a change. Becoming a part of teams like this to help fight for a cause that takes so many precious lives away will not only help others, but it will help yourself. The one who gives more when it seems there is no hope gets more when it’s over.

Katarina is a senior at Florida State University studying Creative Writing with a double minor in Education and Communications. You can find her at your local library reading a good book or writing for her blog https://katarinamartinez13.wixsite.com/kmartinezreads As an aspiring novelist and content writer, she is always looking to spread love and joy everywhere she goes.
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