What percentage of ALS patients are veterans?

More than 16% of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, are veterans. ALS is a nervous system disease that can cause muscle weakness. There are many health issues that veterans are at increased risk of, including ALS. Veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS than people who haven’t served in the military. 

Why are veterans more likely to develop ALS? 

There are several theories around why veterans are more likely to develop ALS. One is that veterans are more likely to be exposed to toxins. Another is that they are more likely to experience extreme physical exhaustion. A third theory posits that veterans’ branches of service may be linked to the development of this condition.

However, to date, no one has discovered evidence that these theories are correct. But there have been studies that show veterans who served in specific wars have an increased ALS risk. Veterans who served during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 seem to have double the possibility of an ALS diagnosis. Veterans who served in Vietnam, Korea, or World War II are also at high risk of developing ALS.

What symptoms may be signs a veteran has ALS?

There are a variety of ALS symptoms, and some are similar to other conditions. However, veterans should meet with a doctor to check for ALS if they or those around them notice symptoms like: 

  • Muscle twitches and cramps.
  • Stiff muscles.
  • Slurred and nasal speech.
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing.

As of today, ALS is a fatal disease with no cure, but the symptoms can be alleviated with medications and physical therapy. It’s also recognized as a service-connected disease, meaning that the VA provides medical and financial support for veterans with ALS.

Valor Healthcare can help veterans who have ALS 

Valor Healthcare is a veteran-founded healthcare organization. We aim to provide whole healthcare services to veterans and other patriots. We are the largest contracted provider of outpatient healthcare services for veterans and take pride in delivering world-class services. We were one of the first community-based outpatient clinics to be accredited for ambulatory care by the Joint Commission and continue to focus on quality across all our lines of business. 

Valor Healthcare is a team made up of veterans and leading clinicians. We are passionate about making resources available to those who have served our country. Valor was first established in 2004, when an Army veteran and a Navy veteran joined together to create something they both believed in — good-quality outpatient care for veterans. 

Interested in the types of services a veteran-focused health consultant company can provide? We specialize in each of the following:

  • Outpatient clinic operations.
  • Occupational health.
  • Behavioral health.
  • Population health.
  • Value-added services.

Would you benefit from any of the services listed above? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for guidance. Valor Healthcare partners with public and private medical clinics to bring high-quality healthcare to American veterans. Partner with us to give your patients access to data-driven, 21st-century care.