Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis causes and risk factors


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an advanced disease of the nervous system that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
The disease often begins with muscle twitching, weakness in the extremities, or slurred speech. Finally, ALS affects muscle control needed to move, talk, eat and breathe. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease yet.
“Madam Net” informs you about the causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and risk factors, according to the “Mayo Clinic”:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements such as walking and talking (motor neurons). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis progressively damages motor neurons, and then they die. Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles throughout all parts of the body. When motoneurons are damaged, they stop sending messages to the muscles, so the muscles can no longer function.
5 to 10 percent of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are due to genetic causes, while the cause is not known in the rest of the cases. Note that researchers continue to study the possible causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Most theories focus on the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis does not appear before the age of 40
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis does not appear before the age of 40

Primary risk factors for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis include:

Heredity: Five to ten percent of people with ALS inherit the disease from a family (familial ALS). For most people with familial ALS, their children have a 50% chance of developing the disease.
Your age: The risk of developing ALS increases with age, and is most common between the ages of 40 and the mid-sixties.
Your gender: Before the age of 65, men develop ALS slightly more often than women. While this difference fades after the age of 70 years.
Genetic characteristics: Some studies examining the entire human genome have found many similarities in the genetic differences of people with familial ALS and some people with non-hereditary ALS.

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Environmental factors may trigger amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, such as:

Smoking: Smoking is the only potential environmental risk factor for ALS. This risk appears to be greater for women, especially after menopause.
Exposure to environmental toxins: Some evidence suggests that exposure to lead or other substances in the work or home environment may be linked to ALS. Many studies have been done, but not a single agent or chemical has been consistently associated with the development of ALS.
Military service: Studies indicate an increased risk for people who have joined the military to develop ALS. But it is not yet clear what motivating factor in military service may lead to ALS. This may include exposure to certain metals or chemicals, traumatic injuries, viral infections or extreme stress.

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