Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

by HSS on the Move
Human brain

Today marks the start of Brain Awareness Week! The brain plays a critical role in mobility, as shown by people who have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after the famous New York Yankees baseball player, ALS is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons that initiate and control the movement of muscles and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. In people with ALS, the nerve cells that stimulate muscles have died, resulting in muscle tissues that waste away. At the onset of ALS, the symptoms may be so subtle that they are frequently overlooked. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or muscles of speech, swallowing or breathing
  • Twitching and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • Impairment in the use of arms and legs
  • “Thick speech” and difficulty in projecting the voice
  • In more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing

Currently there is no cure that stops or reverses ALS.

Topics: Facebook Notes, Neurology
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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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