Introduction to ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (pronounced: a-mi-oh-TROH-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROH-sis) or ALS is a serious, degenerative nervous system disease that causes weakness, muscle atrophy, spasticity, and trouble breathing. Early symptoms include muscle twitching, weakness in limbs, slurred speech and awkwardness. Most of the people who are affected by ALS first notice that they have started to trip or stumble, particularly if they have a “dropped foot” that no longer lifts when walking. Others notice that they have begun to have difficulty in buttoning a shirt or using a key to open a lock. A small percentage of people have an onset in which difficulty in speaking clearly or swallowing are the first noticeable symptoms. Regardless of where the first symptoms initiate, the disease gradually spreads throughout the body.