May 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
Every year in May, ALS Awareness Month is a time for organizations and communities to spread awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. By educating more people about the disease, these organizations ensure that ALS is more easily recognized and that those with the condition receive the help they need.
What is ALS?
Symptoms of ALS
As the disease progresses, the muscle of the affected areas become paralyzed while others seem stiff. Unused muscles will contract involuntarily, causing pain and discomfort. Walking will become more difficult as the joints become rigid and deformed. Patients will need help eating as saliva dries up and makes it difficult to chew and swallow. Occasionally, a patient's emotions will be affected, causing uncontrollable laughter or crying.
Toward the end, at least 90% of voluntary muscles become paralyzed. The lungs are damaged, and breathing will be difficult. The patient will most likely need a full-time nurse to help them with their basic needs. Eating and drinking will be next to impossible, and speech will continue to deteriorate.
Patients with ALS usually die from suffocation from the disability of the lung muscles, choking while trying to swallow food or cardiac arrest due to heart abnormalities.
ALS is currently incurable. Certain treatments can make the lives of people with the disease more comfortable, including medications to relax their muscles and control saliva and other symptoms.
How To Participate in ALS Awareness Month
Here are a few ideas for how to participate during ALS Awareness Month:
● Donate: Donate your time or money to the cause. Walks To Defeat ALS is the #1 way to fundraise and unite with fellow ALS participants. Funds support people with ALS, research for a cure, and advocacy on a local and national level.
The physical, emotional, and financial burden on ALS patients did not diminish over the past two years. Instead, a lack of access to traditional care and a shortage of caregivers left ALS patients and their families scrambling for support.
Here are a few ideas for how to raise awareness for ALS:
● Support local and national ALS advocates who work hard to ensure that ALS isn't forgotten in stimulus packages and legislation.
● Volunteer your time and/or money to contribute to larger efforts to find a cure.
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