Who Gets ALS?

Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with the disease and someone passes away from it.  

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in people in their twenties and thirties. 

ALS is 20 percent more common in men than in women. However, with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women. 

About 90 percent of ALS cases occur without family history, which is known as sporadic ALS. The remaining 10 percent of ALS cases are inherited through a mutated gene, which is known as familial ALS. 

For unknown reasons, military veterans are up to twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease as the general public.

Notable individuals who have been diagnosed with ALS include baseball great Lou Gehrig, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, "SpongeBob SquarePants" creator Stephen Hillenburg, “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone, jazz musician Charles Mingus, singer/songwriter Kim Shattuck (The Muffs), bassist Mike Porcaro (Toto), musician Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), theatre producer Jenifer Estess, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor, and NFL football players Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw.