Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

News: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating Neurodegenerative Disease, presents a range of challenges for both patients and caregivers in India.

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare and progressive disease that affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles, such as those in the arms, legs, face, and mouth. ALS causes the nerve cells to gradually die, leading to muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually death.
• ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who had it.
• The cause of ALS is not well understood, but some cases are inherited from a family member. There is no cure for ALS, but some treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow down the disease progression.

What are the symptoms of ALS?
• Muscle stiffness, twitching, and cramps
• Difficulty walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing
• Changes in mood, behavior, and thinking
• Weight loss and malnutrition

What are initiatives taken to tackle ALS in India?
• The Government's National Policy for Rare Diseases (NPRD), 2021, introduced a significant provision offering financial aid of up to Rs. 50 lakh to patients afflicted by Rare Diseases and receiving treatment at designated Centers of Excellence.
• The World Health Organisation (WHO) characterizes rare diseases as debilitating conditions with a prevalence of 1 or less per 1000 population. This policy initiative aims to support individuals, including those with conditions like ALS, by providing substantial financial assistance for their treatment.

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