What is it?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that damages the nerves that control muscles. This causes the muscles to weaken. The muscles slowly stop working, leaving the person unable to move ("paralysis"). Over time, the disease gets worse and leads to death. Most people who get ALS live only a few years after their symptoms begin. Unfortunately, as for today, there is no cure for ALS.

13 Alikes with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Learn from others
who are experiencing
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms of ALS vary from person to person, depending on which neurons are affected. Signs and symptoms might include:
- Difficulty walking or doing normal daily activities
- Tripping and falling
- Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
- Hand weakness or clumsiness
- Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
- Inappropriate crying, laughing or yawning
- Cognitive and behavioral changes

ALS often starts in the hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed and your muscles get weaker. This eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing. Generally, there is no pain in the early stages of ALS, and pain is also uncommon in the later stages. ALS doesn't usually affect your bladder control or your senses.


ALS is hard to diagnose in early stages because it can mimic other neurological diseases. Most of the tests will be perform in order to rule out other conditions, includes:
- Electromyogram (EMG) to evaluate the electrical activity of your muscles.Abnormalities in muscles seen in an EMG can help doctors diagnose or rule out ALS.
- Nerve conduction study to measure your nerves' ability to send impulses to muscles in different areas of your body. It can determine if you have nerve damage or certain muscle or nerve diseases.
- MRI of your brain and spinal cord. An MRI can reveal spinal cord tumors, herniated disks in your neck or other conditions that might be causing your symptoms.
- Blood and urine tests to eliminate other other possible causes of your signs and symptoms.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) This involves removing a sample of your spinal fluid for laboratory testing.
- Muscle biopsy can diagnose other muscle disease rather than ALS.


Treatments can't reverse the damage of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but they can slow the progression of symptoms, prevent complications, and make you feel more comfortable and independent. Treatments may include medication and other therapies:
Riluzole (Rilutek):Taken orally, has been shown to increase life expectancy by three to six months
Edaravone (Radicava): Given by intravenous infusion, has been shown to reduce the decline in daily functioning.
Medicines to treat muscle spasms and weakness, drooling, sleep problems, pain, and depression.
Other therapies:
-Breathing support
-Feeding tube
-Devices to help with walking and talking

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

Latest discussions

More from the Diabetes Type 2 (T2D) community

Alike Wisdom

Instantly get answers to medical questions with our AI, built from the collective wisdom of our community facing similar experiences

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Find people who are
experiencing a similar
medical reality

100% Free