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  • April 30, 2021

ALS Awareness

ALS Awareness Month, recognized nationwide each May, is an opportunity to spread awareness, share information, and raise funds for research for a cure. Join Gary J. Long Jewelers as we spread the message of hope and help for those living with ALS.

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and paralysis. Early symptoms of ALS include muscle cramps, weakness in hands, legs, and feet, and difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing. The senses, including hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch, are not affected by ALS. In most cases, cognitive function remains unaffected.

There are an estimated 30,000 people living with ALS in the United States and someone is diagnosed every 90 minutes. It can affect someone of any age, gender, or race, but most circumstances occur in between the ages of 40 and 70. Ten percent of cases are known as familial ALS, where a specific genetic mutation is inherited and passed down through generations. The remaining 90 percent of cases are known as sporadic ALS, where there is no known family history of the disease. There are several theories for the potential causes of sporadic ALS, including immune system over activity, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and toxic exposures.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of ALS, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Most individuals are diagnosed within the year of their first symptom, making early detection significant in prolonging survival and improving the quality of life for ALS patients.

Currently, there is no known cure for ALS. Most people can live about 3-5 years after initial signs of disease and diagnosis, with one in ten people surviving 10 years or more. ALS is a complex disease which varies from individual to individual and much more research is needed to discover treatments to stop the progression of the disease. Gary J. Long Jewelers invites you to join them this May, ALS Awareness Month, and rally around people living with ALS and their families and help spread awareness of this disease. If you or a loved one is living with ALS, a custom piece of jewelry featuring a red stone, such as a garnet or ruby, can help spread awareness and share your support of the cause.