Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis symptoms are different for everyone, but they do follow common patterns. Learn about the stages and symptoms.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, or ALS, is a neurological disease (also called Lou Gerhig's disease). It damages nerve cells called motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons send messages to muscles to control their movement. As these neurons die, they can no longer signal the muscles to move.
Without messages from motor neurons, muscles start to waste away. As more and more motor neurons are lost, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis symptoms appear. The muscles twitch and weaken. Gradually, a person with ALS loses the ability to stand, walk, eat, and breathe.
Typically, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis symptoms first appear in people who are over age 50. But in some cases, the disease can start earlier in life.
March 16, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA