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28 years
With the idea of ALS in mind, how harmful is it to shock the nervous system with ice and water thrown over it?
Aug 25, 2014

Dr. Rania Mousa General Medicine
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and affects the spinal cord and brain.

It causes the motor neurons to die, causing patients issues when it comes to moving muscles. The muscles eventually stop working because they are not used on a regular basis, and it can lead to problems with swallowing, breathing and speaking. Some patients can end up paralyzed.

It essentially triggers a slow paralysis in sufferers by causing the nerve cells to stop working. It's also a death sentence.

The nerve cells that ALS attacks are the lower motor neurons which carry about a wide range of functions such as moving the limbs, swallowing, and breathing. It doesn't affect the brain, just the motor neurons, so cognitive functions usually remain normal.

So far, hereditary factors are considered but for the majority of cases there is no reason for the illness to suddenly strike.

With regard to the appearance of symptoms and the progression of the illness of ALS , the course of the disease may include the following:

>muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech,

>swallowing or breathing

>twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
impairment of the use of the arms and legs

>"thick speech" and difficulty in projecting the voice

>in more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing

However ,concerning the idea and the relation of ice bucket challenge or throwing extreme cold water on suddenly ,it is because of common symptoms that may happen in these seconds to minutes following the throw of ice .

The reactions of the body after an ice drop may be :

>muscle spasms and hyperventilation. Other symptoms may be an increase of the pulse and blood pressure.

>Sudden immersion into cold water may cause cardiac arrest, even for a healthy person.

>The shock of the cold water can also cause an involuntary gasp reflex that can cause victims to swallow water and drown.

> Cold water can paralyze the muscles instantly due to the shock ,nerves and muscles are partially paralyzed

it is not suitable for people known to have heart disease or any other medical problem

These features are some of common symptoms felt in ALS patients but in a long lasting life manner ,this is why ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE IDEA COME FROM .
but However ,the truth is that this challenge has driven hundreds of thousands to join the fight against ALS.

It is effective cause marketing. Those are thousands of people that would have perhaps not donated to other charities.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has created awareness that few other similar campaigns have achieved, and has brought millions of dollars to fund efforts to eradicate ALS.