What is ALS

ALS Quick Facts

  • The cause of ALS is unknown.
  • There is no cure, but we are funding more research than ever before.
  • ALS can strike anyone... it knows no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
  • Over 90% of those diagnosed have no family history.
  • Between five to 10% of those diagnosed have a family history of ALS.
  • There are 30,000 people in the U.S. living with ALS at any given time.
  • Approximately 5,600 individuals are diagnosed annually.
  • ALS usually strikes those aged 40-70, with the peak age at 55.
  • The annual incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 population. Incidence is the occurrence of new cases of a condition. The incidence rate describes the frequency with which cases are identified.
  • The prevalence of ALS in the U.S. is said to be six to eight per 100,000 population. Prevalence is the total number of cases of a disease in a given population at a specific time.
  • Average life expectancy is roughly two to five years after diagnosis.
  • Half of all affected live more than three years after diagnosis.
  • ALS is five times more common than Huntington's Disease and just as common as Multiple Sclerosis.
  • More people die each year from ALS than from Huntington's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Helpful ALS Links

National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine
The ALS Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke - ALS Fact Sheet
Mayo Clinic
The National Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Registry — www.cdc.gov/als — (800) 232-4637