Veterans at higher risk for ALS
11/09/2012 4:05 PM
11/09/2012 4:06 PM
A few weeks ago, studies found that NFL players are at greater risk of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Papers like this one ran stories about the news and rightfully so. But with Veterans Day approaching on Sunday, how many of us know that a much larger segment of our population -- military veterans -- also is at greater risk of Lou Gehrig’s Disease?
Studies have shown that military veterans are about twice as likely to die from ALS as the general public. It does not matter when or where they served in the military. Unfortunately there is no treatment. There is no cure. They will die from the disease in an average of just two to five years.
We do not know what causes ALS in veterans or NFL players. Is it head trauma? Excessive physical activity? Those are potential risk factors. But we do know that raising awareness of the risk faced by our veterans and know about the significant VA benefits that are available. Caregiver benefits are part of the VA benefits.
I encourage your readers to visit the Wall of Honor at www.alsa.org. There, people can read the stories and see the faces of hundreds of veterans living with ALS and those who already have been lost to the disease. There, they can see that ALS does not simply strike the stars we watch on TV every Sunday, but also our family members, friends and neighbors who have served in the military.
The writer lives in Florence.
Editor's Choice Videos
Join the Discussion
Myrtle Beach Sun News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.