If you’re one of the millions who are on social media every day, then you most probably have heard about or joined in the Ice Bucket Challenge – a worldwide effort in the hopes of raising money for research cost on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This was done by either pouring cold water with ice on yourself, donating $100, or both. Families, friends, coworkers, and all kinds of individuals joined in on the challenge.
However, the viral marketing campaign’s success would not be completely attained if people did not acquire more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of ALS, a condition that affects more than 30,000 Americans and has killed nearly 6,000 people yearly.
Instead of presenting facts and other studies here, which you might have already read, we have listed below five misconceptions that we often have about ALS. If we are suffering from the disease, or our loved one is, we are often so caught up with finding out how to relieve ourselves of the condition that we believe everything we hear. So here are things that ALS is NOT.
Over time, months or years, the weakness advances from one side of the hand to the other, until all extremities become weak. The muscles of the mouth and throat are also weakened, thus the patient will eventually have difficulty breathing, chewing, and swallowing. This hallmark is what makes ALS deadly, as the patient will soon need a respirator to live, but the weakness will not stop.
Moreover, no single study has suggested that ALS is caused primarily by an infection. In fact, according to neurologists’ records, 90% of ALS occurs sporadically, or just out of the blue, with an unknown cause. The remaining 10% is attributed to genetics.
After that, another athlete gave more fame to ALS being caused by sports when Steve Gleason got the same illness. He has become an inspiration to other athletes as he has shown how people like him can fight ALS by customizing his home and using different tools to help him cope and communicate. He also did the ice bucket challenge naked.
ALS has a large age of onset range, which is from one’s teenage years to as old as he can get. Only one out of 800 males and one out of 1000 females in the United States will die from ALS.
Despite the impediments, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly eager to conduct studies and clinical trials to find a better solution for curing ALS. It resulted in many interesting discoveries about the disease and exploring new tools to observe and study it. And one of the most vital discoveries is that of stem cell therapy.
The Ice Bucket Challenge made waves in social media, and this certainly helped increase awareness about ALS, including donations from different organizations. On the contrary, there were also some who criticized the challenge, saying that it was only a waste of money and water and that the disease does not need that much attention. Nevertheless, that challenge was only the first step, and a big step at that, to a better and clearer understanding of ALS.