ALS Risk Factors and Complications
There are several risk factors for ALS, which may include:
* Heredity – as mentioned previously, up to 10 percent of people suffering from ALS have inherited from their parents. If you’ve inherited ALS, your children have a 50 – 50 chance of developing this disease themselves.
* Age – Most commonly, ALS occurs in people that are between the ages of 40 and 60.
* Sex – Prior to the age of 65, more men than women develop ALS; however, the difference disappears after the age of 70.
* Geography / Dietary – People living in certain parts of Japan, Guam, and West New Guinea have an increased risk of developing ALS, which leads to diet as being a contributing factor.
* Military service – Strangely, recent studies seem to indicate that people who have served in the military may actually be at higher risk of contracting ALS.
As ALS progresses, one or more of the following complications may arise:
The muscles needed to breathe are eventually paralyzed by ALS, leading to this disease’s most common cause of death: respiratory failure. Some people opt to have a tracheostomy to use the full time help of a respirator that inflates and deflates their lungs.
As the muscles that control swallowing are affected, people suffering from ALS often develop malnutrition and dehydration. They also run the risk of aspirating food, liquids and secretions into their lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
People with ALS are at higher risk of developing dementia and dementia-related conditions, including:
* Frontotemporal dementia
* Alzheimer’s disease
Beth Stanton is an MD and when not teaching or writing she tends her jewelry interests and is and expert on diamond earrings, gold necklaces and sterling silver rings.