Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that has stumped scientists for decades. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it’s estimated that only 5,000 people in America are diagnosed with ALS every year.

Due to its rarity and the lack of knowledge about the disease, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding ALS. Below are five common myths circulated about ALS and the true facts behind them.

Myth: Lyme Disease Causes ALS 

Fact: There is no correlation between Lyme disease and the onset or development of ALS.

This myth comes from the fact that Lyme disease can have similar symptoms to the early stages of ALS, including fatigue, muscle twitches, and weakness. However, clinical testing can easily differentiate between the two for a definitive diagnosis.

Myth: Someone in Your Family Has to Have ALS for You to Get It

Fact: Most people who develop ALS do not have any family history of the disease.

ALS can be passed down through a mutated gene, but 90% of ALS cases are sporadic as opposed to hereditary. As a result of its sporadic nature, scientists haven’t been able to pin down any specific cause or causes of ALS, but research into possible risk factors is ongoing.

Myth: ALS Only Affects Seniors 

Fact: ALS can affect people of any age, with the median onset age being 55 years old.

Unlike other neurodegenerative diseases, ALS doesn’t seem to discriminate based on age. The majority of people diagnosed with ALS are between the ages of 40 and 60, but onset can occur at any point in your life, with even some teenagers being affected.

Myth: ALS Only Affects Your Motor Skills 

Fact: ALS has far-reaching effects beyond just motor control.

About half of the individuals diagnosed with ALS will also experience cognitive and emotional impairments. This can include excessive or inappropriate emotional reactions and, in rare cases, dementia.

Myth: ALS Is the Same for Everyone Who Has It 

Fact: ALS is different for every person; no two individuals will have an identical experience.

There is no road map for ALS. It can begin and progress in several different ways. Two people diagnosed with ALS at the same time can have vastly different experiences with the disease. For some people, ALS may only affect one part of their body for several months before it spreads, while other people notice extreme changes in a short period of time.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for ALS, also known as ALS Stem cell treatment. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.