Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Description of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disease that attacks nerve cells called neurons in your brain and spinal cord. These neurons transmit messages from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles.
Signs and Symptoms
Early stage symptoms include:
1. Mild muscle problems (weakness, tightness, or twitch)
2. Trouble walking or running
3. Trouble writing
4. Speech problems

Late symptoms may include:
1. Loss of strength
2. Inability to move
3. Inability to breathe
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of ALS is not known. However, it may be genetic. Other risk factors include:
1. Age between 40 and 60
2. More common in men than women


A thorough medical and family history and physical examination will be done by your treating doctor.
If ALS is suspected, an electromyogram, or EMG will be performed. 
Additional tests may include:
1. MRI of the spinal cord and brain. 
2. Spinal Cord fluid analysis 
3. Blood tests to exclude disorders that mimic ALS. 
4. Muscle biopsy
5. Genetic tests 
6. Nerve conduction studies 


There is no cure for ALS but medication and supportive therapy may help prolong survival and improve symptoms. 

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Content Details
Last updated on:
04 Sep 2017 | 11:45 AM (IST)
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