ALS CENTER

What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis? - Page 4

By Stephanie Watson @WatsonWriter
 | 
November 10, 2016

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis like to live with?

What happens when you have ALS is that symptoms progress gradually. At first, you might have trouble with fine motor skills — like lifting a pen to write or opening a door with a key. Weakened muscles in your arms and legs might cause you to trip or drop things. You can experience muscle twitches or stiffness, as well as slurred speech.

As the disease gets worse, it affects more and more muscles, which get progressively weaker. Over time, people with ALS have trouble with even basic movements like chewing, swallowing, and eventually breathing.

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis life expectancy?

Everyone with ALS is different. The disease progression varies from person to person. Most people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis live for an average of 3 to 5 years. The most common cause of death is respiratory failure. However, about 10 percent of people survive for 10 years or more. Physicist and author Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at age 21. He’s now 75 years old, and he’s lived with the disease for more than 50 years.

 

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Updated:

November 10, 2017

Reviewed By:

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA