Creating a Fuller Life Living with ALS

Creating a Fuller Life Living With ALS

Profile of ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal cord. As degeneration of the motor neurons occurs, the brain’s ability to initiate and control muscle movement weakens. When the motor neurons stop sending signals to the muscles, their voluntary control becomes compromised, challenging the patient’s ability to walk, swallow, speak and breathe. Over time, without the necessary signals from the motor neurons informing the muscles to move, the muscles become progressively powerless from inactivity, eventually leading to paralysis. Ultimately, the diaphragm and the chest muscles fail, and the patient stops breathing.

My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically... Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. - Stephen Hawking, British Physicist and an ALS patient