With the Ice Bucket Challenge raising over a million dollars this weekend in order to raise money and awareness for the ALS Association, a growing concern is that many still don't actually know what ALS is. 

(Digital Vision., ThinkStock)

ALS, commonly referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is "a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells ... responsible for controlling voluntary muscles." Though the causes of the disease are unknown, research shows that certain genetics, environmental factors and exposure to specific toxins may be at the root of the fatal disease according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

  • Cramps
  • Tight or stiff muscles
  • Muscle weakness/atrophy in the arm or leg
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Possible issues with memory or dementia.
These symptoms often cause anxiety and depression in those who fall victim to the disease, and many often develop pneumonia in the latest stages of the disease. While there is currently no cure for ALS, the amount of money raised over this past weekend toward ALS research does give people hope that one day we may be able to find a cure for the disease once and for all.