What is ALS? The disease is called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That explains why it gets shortened to ALS. Mayo Clinic’s definition:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis… is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
That definition is more of a simple description of a very complex disease that inexorably leads to death. ALS has no known cause and no cure.
Under Mayo Clinic’s detailed Cause:
ALS affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements such as walking and talking (motor neurons). ALS causes the motor neurons to gradually deteriorate, and then die. Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. When motor neurons are damaged, they stop sending messages to the muscles, so the muscles can’t function.
Notice the lack of a cause in all that detail about motor neurons. This sums it up:
ALS is inherited in 5% to 10% of people. For the rest, the cause isn’t known.
There are some clues but not the kind that would get someone to pay attention to the direction their health is going and it wouldn’t matter anyway. ALS is a slow motion death sentence.
Here is another example that explains causes for ALS. From Hospital for Special Surgery:
Although the cause of ALS is not completely understood, recent research suggests that multiple complex factors contribute to the death of motor neurons. Specific risk factors for ALS have not been conclusively identified, but ongoing research is exploring the possible role of genetics and/or environmental factors. Research published in 2009 suggests that smoking tobacco may heighten a person’s risk for ALS.
Also being old, male, and Caucasian. That’s me.
Here’s another list of possible causes for ALS:
- Defective glutamate metabolism
- Free radical injury
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Gene defects
- Programmed cell death or apoptosis
- Cytoskeletal protein defects
- Autoimmune and inflammatory mechanisms
- Accumulation of protein aggregates (clumps)
- Viral infections
I’ve had autoimmune markers and chronic inflammation for decades. Combine that with a series of back-to-back viral infections just before ALS was detected and a cause might be more identifiable.
Your chances of contracting COVID 19 are much higher than coming down with ALS. The vast majority of people with COVID 19 will have few symptoms and though many tens of millions will be infected only a small percentage will die.
Everyone who contracts ALS will die.