Initially, the weakness or atrophy associated with ALS may be so modest that they go unnoticed.
Early symptoms include:
- Body parts like the arms, legs, shoulders, and tongue twitch uncontrollably.
- Spastic muscles
- Painful, tense, and rigid muscular tissue (spasticity)
- Weakness in the muscles of the arms, legs, neck, and/or lungs
- speech impairment (slurred, nasal)
- Struggles with digestion or swallowing
Difficulty in fine motor skills, such as those required to button a shirt, write, or turn a key in a lock, is often the earliest indicator of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Other times, only one leg is affected at first.
Individuals may feel unsteady on their feet, fall down more frequently, or have difficulty gaining momentum when walking or jogging. “Limb onset” ALS refers to the onset of symptoms in the limbs, while “bulbar onset” ALS refers to the development of symptoms in the vocal cords and swallowing muscles.
Weakness and atrophy of muscles occur all across the body as the disease advances. Disabilities in movement, swallowing (known as dysphagia), speech and word formation (known as dysarthria), and breathing are all possible outcomes (dyspnea).
Although the onset and course of symptoms might vary from person to person, those with ALS eventually lose the ability to stand, walk, get in and out of bed, or use their hands and arms.
People with ALS often have trouble swallowing and chewing, which makes eating a challenge.
They have a higher metabolic rate, burning fat and calories at a faster pace than the average person. Malnutrition and fast weight loss are common outcomes for persons with ALS for these reasons.
People with ALS are usually aware of their progressive loss of function and may experience anxiety and depression since they are still capable of higher mental processes such as reasoning, remembering, understanding, and problem-solving.
Some people may have trouble communicating or making decisions, and there is mounting evidence that some people may potentially acquire dementia.
People with ALS can no longer breathe without the assistance of a ventilator. In the later stages of the disease, those who are affected are also more likely to develop pneumonia.
Painful neuropathy is a potential side effect of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in addition to painful muscular cramping (nerve disease or damage).
L.A.S. is a neuromuscular disorder that affects many people around the world. Everyone of every race and ethnicity is vulnerable to it.
Some of the things that can put you at risk for amyotrophic lateral
Age – Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 55 and 75, while the condition can manifest at any age.
Gender – There is a minor male preponderance in the occurrence of ALS. Aging, however, levels the playing field between the sexes.
Distinguishing characteristics based on race and ethnicity. The disease disproportionately affects non-Hispanic Whites.
There is evidence that men and women who have served in the armed forces are 1.5-2 times more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than the general population.
Lead, pesticides, and other environmental contaminants may be contributing causes, while the exact cause is unknown.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes ALS as a service-connected condition.