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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Also called: ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease

Summary

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 voluntary muscles - the ones you can control, like in your arms and legs. At first, this causes mild muscle problems. Some people notice

  • Trouble walking or running
  • Trouble writing
  • Speech problems

Eventually, you lose your strength and cannot move. When muscles in your chest fail, you cannot breathe. A breathing machine can help, but most people with ALS die from respiratory failure.

The disease usually strikes between age 40 and 60. More men than women get it. No one knows what causes ALS. It can run in families, but usually it strikes at random. There is no cure. Medicines can relieve symptoms and, sometimes, prolong survival.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (ALS Association) Also in

Symptoms

  • (ALS Association) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (ALS Association) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Living With

  • (ALS Association)
  • (Muscular Dystrophy Association) - PDF
  • (ALS Association) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (ALS Association)
  • (ALS Association)
  • (Muscular Dystrophy Association) - PDF
  • (ALS Association)

Genetics

  • (ALS Association) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

  • (ALS Association)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (ALS Association)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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