Aug 22, 2014 12:21 PM by Annie Snead

Your Healthy Family: ALS Awareness

You've probably seen the famous ice bucket challenge that has taken over social media.
As of Thursday it's raised more the $40 million for ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, compared to $2.1 million raised during the same period last year.
News 5 spoke with a doctor a Memorial Hospital about this awful disease and the new heightened awareness.
From former President George W. Bush to the Today Shows Matt Lauer, it seems the entire nation is getting dumped with ice.
But as funny as it might be, it's actually raising money and awareness for a very serious and deadly disease.
"Absolutely no definite cure that can actually, that's going to reduce the symptoms or cure the disease in itself," said Dr. Amita Singh, a neurohospitalist at Memorial Hospital.
She says there are about 5,000 new cases of ALS in the US every year.
"What it usually presents with is - people are going to come in saying they're having trouble walking they can't run they're stumbling tripping over themselves, that's the most common," said Dr. Singh.
"By the time most people are getting diagnosed they've already developed muscle weakness. from then on the average time of survival is about three years but of course we see cases where people survive 5-10 years," she added.
She says the ice challenge - started by an ALS patient - has definitely gotten peoples attention.
And the money generated can be used in multiple ways.
"ALS is a multi disciplinary disease and it requires a multi-disciplinary approach so it just won't be the money going to research. I think it will also be for patients families kind of making sure that they have a good quality of life til the very end," said Dr. Singh.


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