The truth behind ALS

The truth behind ALS

REDDING, Calif. - People all over the country have taken part in the ice bucket challenge to bring awareness to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The disease is a muscular degenerative disorder that affects the muscles and leads to paralysis.

Dr. Hamid Rabiee, a Redding neurologist said the disorder is rare. In his 17 years of practice, he said he has only seen 12 cases. Dr. Rabiee said ASL can start with minor symptoms.

"Certain cells in the spinal cord, they just die on their own, very gradually and slowly," Dr. Rabiee said.

After that patients experience muscle cramps and muscle twitching, along with weakness in hands, legs, feet or ankles. That is also accompanied with difficulty speaking or swallowing.

"Maybe not really significant and without pain and without numbness," Dr. Rabiee said. "Some sort of a fluctuation getting a little weaker then becoming basically less aggressive."

He also said there are two forms of ALS, the most common is sporadic ALS which targets any age group. The less common one is familial ALS, which is hereditary.

When diagnosed, patients have about two to three years before they become incapacitated.

There are currently no ALS support groups in the Northstate.

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