Here are a few facts and figures related to the incidence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Jun 21, 2019
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological condition, for which currently there is no cure. The disease destroys the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord that are required for controlling muscle movement.
Symptoms of ALS
The progression of ALS can vary from patient to patient, but some of the most common symptoms include muscle weakness, difficulty in speaking, muscle fasciculations and respiratory problems.
Typically, an individual with ALS can live for between 2 and 5 years following their diagnosis, although 10% of those diagnosed can live for another 10 or more years.
Who Suffers from ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a rare disease and the incidence of ALS, according to statistics, varies according to several different factors.
The risk of being diagnosed with ALS increases with age, and the average age in which people are typically diagnosed with the condition is between 55 and 65 years. However, there have been several cases of individuals in their twenties and thirties being diagnosed with ALS.
ALS is 20% more likely to occur in men than women, although the incidence of the disease becomes more equal between men and women with increasing age.
Race and Ethnicity
According to research data from the USA, Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.
The worldwide annual incidence (i.e. number of new cases) of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is estimated to be 1.9 per 100,000 people.
It's also believed that approximately every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS, and during this timeframe, another individual may die as a result of the disease.
In terms of prevalence, which is the number of people living with the disease at any given time, it's estimated that there are 450,000 people worldwide with ALS.
However, researchers have predicated that this number is likely to increase significantly in the future, due to any aging population, particularly in developing countries.
Currently there is no cure for ALS and the typically short life expectancy following diagnosis makes this a particularly devastating disease.
Hope for the Future
However, thanks to the things such as the 'Ice Bucket Challenge', people are now more aware and understanding of ALS than ever before and with continuous research, there's hope that one day a cure will be discovered.