The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease of the central nervous system, characterized by a progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the cerebral cortex (upper motor neurons), brainstem and spinal cord (lower motor neurons).

Every 20 June is commemorated on World Day of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease that has a median survival among his patients from three to five years.

The ALS is a disease that threatens motor autonomy, oral communication, swallowing and breathing, although the senses, intellect and muscles of the limbs remain intact. eyes.

The consequence is muscle weakness that can progress to paralysis, spreading from one body region to another.

Symptoms of having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Experts assure that ALS, when it appears, can have such mild symptoms that they often go unnoticed.

From the ALS Association, the organization that is in charge of global research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, they point out that as it progresses disease and symptoms appear, we must include:

    Muscular weakness in the hands, arms, legs or muscles of speech, swallowing or breathing.

    Disability in the use of arms and legs.

    Tics (fasciculation) and muscle cramps, especially in the hands and feet.

    «Swallowing words» and difficulty projecting the voice.

    In more advanced stages, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing and swallowing.

But this disease will be different in each person, since it can vary a lot from one person to another. In fact, the rate of progression of ALS changes depending on the person. The initial symptom of a person with ALS may be stuttering or difficulty lifting objects.

ELA neurologíaPerson with ALS

On average, the survival of this disease is three to five years, although there are cases in which the patient lives ten or more years.

From the ALS Association they point out that in a small number of people, it has been known that ALS has gone into remission or stopped its progress, although it is not scientifically understood how and why is this happening.

In addition, we must bear in mind that not all people with ALS experience the same symptoms. For some, symptoms may begin in the muscles of speech, swallowing, or the hands, arms, legs, or feet. Of course, they all experience progressive muscle weakness and paralysis.

Muscle weakness, the first sign of ALS

Experts point out that one of the first distinguishing signs of ALS is muscle weakness. This occurs in approximately 60% of patients.

These are the most general initial symptoms:

  • Stutter.
  • Tripping.
  • Drop objects.

    Abnormal fatigue in arms and/or legs.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Tics

    Uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying.

The extremities, hands or feet, may be affected at first. In this case, it causes difficulty in lifting objects, walking or using the hands for everyday things such as washing or dressing.

As ALS progresses, weakness and paralysis spread through the muscles of the trunk of the body. The disease affects speech, swallowing, breathing and chewing.

Ultimately, when the muscles of respiration are affected, the patient will need permanent help to breathe in order to survive.

We must remember that ALS is a disease that only attacks motor neurons, so the sense of sight , touch, hearing, taste and smell are not affected.