Lou Gehrigs Disease and Receiving Social Security Disability
What is Lou Gehrig's disease?
Lou Gehrig's disease is the disease that the great New York Yankees Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig had. He died from this disease in 1941. The medical name for the disease is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Or, it is simply known as ALS.
Lou Gehrig's disease is a rapidly progressive, fatal neurological disease that affects your nerve cells (neurons) that control your voluntary muscles. Lou Gehrig's disease is one of a group of disorders that is known as motor neuron diseases. These diseases are marked by the gradual degeneration and death of your motor neurons.
Motor neurons are nerve cells that are found in your spinal cord, brain and brainstem. They serve as controlling units and vital communication links between your nervous system and the voluntary muscles of your body. Messages from motor neurons in your brain are sent to motor neurons in your spinal cord. The messages are then sent from your spinal cord to particular muscles in your body.
What happens to your body when you have Lou Gehrig's disease?
The motor neurons in your spinal cord and brain begin to degenerate or die when you have Lou Gehrig's disease. Your motor neurons stop sending messages to your muscles. Lou Gehrig Disease researches do not know why this happens to your motor neurons.
Your muscles gradually weaken, waste away and twitch because they lose their ability to work. With the passage of time, your brain's ability to start and control voluntary movement is taken away.
Lou Gehrig's disease statistics in the U.S.
There are about 20,000 people in the United States who are affected with Lou Gehrig's disease. About 5,000 people are diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease every year in the United States.
Men are more susceptible to Lou Gehrig's disease than women are. Lou Gehrig's disease occurs most often to people who are between the ages of 40 and 60, but those who are older and younger than this can also get the disease.
Early Signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease
The beginning signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease are subtle. Some of these include:
- Your speech becoming slurred or nasal
- Twitching, stiffness or cramping of your muscles
- Problems with chewing or swallowing
- Muscle weakness that affects one of your arms or legs
The areas of your body that are affected by early signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease are determined by which muscles in your body are damaged first. The first signs and symptoms that you notice may involve speech difficulties or your hand, arm or leg. Atrophy and muscle weakness spread to other areas of your body as Lou Gehrig's disease progresses. This happens no matter what part of your body is the first to be affected by the disease.
Eventual signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease
Eventually, Lou Gehrig's disease paralyzes the muscles that you have to have to breathe. Respiratory failure is the most common cause of death with Lou Gehrig's disease. This usually occurs within three to five years after your signs and symptoms start. However, about 10% of people with Lou Gehrig's disease live for 10 years or more.
Sometimes, people with Lou Gehrig's disease get pneumonia. This results from not being able to swallow and because of inhaling food and oral secretions into your lungs.
Lou Gehrig's disease does not usually affect your intellect or your senses of smell, touch, taste, sight or hearing. Lou Gehrig's disease also does not involve your involuntary muscles. These are the muscles that control things like your bladder and bowel function and your heartbeat.
Lou Gehrig's disease may have reached a point where you are disabled and cannot work. Because of this, you may have put in a claim for Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Has the Social Security Administration denied your claim? Have they also denied an appeal? Get your free disability case evaluation now.
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