How Do You Get ALS Disease?

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Some risk factors for ALS include:
  • Age. ALS risk increases with age, and is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Heredity. Five to 10 percent of the people with ALS inherited it.
  • Sex. Before the age of 65, slightly more men than women develop ALS. This sex difference disappears after age 70.
  • Genetics. Some studies examining the entire human genome found many similarities in the genetic variations of people with familial ALS and some people with noninherited ALS.
Environmental factors may also trigger ALS:
  • Smoking. The risk seems to be greatest for women, particularly after menopause.
  • Environmental toxin exposure. Some evidence suggests that exposure to lead or other substances in the workplace or at home may be linked to ALS.
  • Military service. Recent studies indicate that people who have served in the military are at higher risk.
  • ALS. It's unclear exactly what about military service may trigger the development of ALS.
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