Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressively degenerative neuromuscular disease that begins either in the limbs (lumbar onset) with muscle twitching, wasting, or weakness; or as affecting speaking or swallowing (bulbar onset).
Approximately 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year in the United States. Roughly as many people are diagnosed each year as die from it. Life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years, and ALS is essentially 100 percent fatal.
The entire family unit, circle of friends, neighbors, and community are often heavily relied upon by those living with ALS.