A poor prognosis doesn’t always mean that someone’s life ends within years of diagnosis. Stephen Hawking is a prime example. Not expected to live past his 25th birthday, he survived more than 50 years after that, reaching the age of 76. Even with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Hawking was able to beat the odds and have a life that was three times the expected length.
What Exactly is ALS?
We have all heard of the famous ALS challenge on Facebook, but what exactly is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)? ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive motor neuron illness. It affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, both of which control the muscles in the body. Several types fall in the ALS category.
Muscles and physical function grow weaker over time. The disease is always fatal, since breathing muscles are affected, which is why many patients choose a ventilator. With the life expectancy of a person with this illness being only approximately five years after the diagnosis, many wonder how Stephen Hawking managed to surpass not only his 25th year but many years after that.
How Did Stephen Hawking Beat the Odds?
1.) Hawking may have had the gene mutation A4V. Other genes in the body may have slowed down the aggressiveness of the illness.
2.) The use of a ventilator helped prolong Hawking’s life.
3.) Hawking was young and had the juvenile-onset form of the disease.
4.) Stephen Hawking’s longevity is due in part to the biology of his form of the neurodegenerative disease that determines the length of time he was able to live after the diagnosis.
5.) Hawking concentrated on things that his disease did not limit, such as having an active mind.
6.) Money and access. Hawking received excellent nursing and medical care. A team of experts provided care around the clock.
7.) Devotion to his career and a positive mental attitude contributed to Hawking’s longevity, according to experts.