What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

ALS is a rare, progressive, and fatal disease that usually affects people between the ages of 40-70. For people with ALS, nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that normally help control muscle function become impaired. These nerves—known as motor neurons—degenerate and eventually die, leading to loss of muscle function throughout the body.

Familial and sporadic ALS

When you were diagnosed, your doctor may have described your ALS as being either familial ALS (fALS)—where there is a known family history of the disease—or sporadic ALS (sALS), where there is no known family history of the disease.    

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What is genetic ALS?

The link between genetic mutations and familial ALS (fALS) has been established, but even seemingly sporadic ALS (sALS) could have a genetic component. How would you know whether you have a mutation associated with genetic ALS?

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Genetic ALS fast facts

When you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, you may have many questions about the disease. Here are some fast facts to help you gain a better understanding of ALS and to prepare you for when you discuss ALS with your doctor.

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