March 5, 2010, Newsletter Issue #60: The Epidemiology Of ALS

Tip of the Week

Over the past three decades, ALS has developed an equal distribution in all major countries worldwide. The disease has an incidence rate of 2 per 100,000 people. The occurrence of ALS is higher in men than in women, and 5,600 new cases occur each year in the United States. However, the prevalence rate for men and women is almost identical, as we get older. It is estimated the prevalence rate of ALS in the United States is 5 per 100,000 of the total population. This would mean if you were gathered in a crowd of 100,000 people, at least five of these people would be diagnosed with ALS within this specified population, and during this particular time.

The number of patients diagnosed with ALS is high in the United States and England compared to other major countries with the same population. Countries such as Italy and Poland were discovered to have lower incidence rates than other countries such as the United States.

However, during the early to mid 1990s, there were a number of clusters cases diagnosed in Japan, Micronesia, and Indonesia with a local incidence rate at least fifty times higher than the worldwide incidence rate.

Usually people diagnosed with ALS are 40-70 years old, with an average life expectancy of 2-5 years. Twenty percent will survive for five years, and 10 percent of ALS patients will live for at least ten years.

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