April 23, 2010, Newsletter Issue #67: Symptoms During The Early Stages

Tip of the Week

If you are diagnosed with ALS or know someone with the disease, it will be overwhelming to think about what symptoms to expect. Generally, the symptoms of ALS are not the same for everybody, especially during the early stages of the disease. They can start in one area of the body and eventually progress to other areas. Symptoms can also start in the facial muscles, which move the tongue, or someone might notice weakness in the muscles of the hands and arms. The disease has usually progressed by the time a doctor's appointment is made.

More than 60 percent of people diagnosed will complain of weakness. Thirty-three percent of these people will complain of weakness in the arm, while the other 33 percent will complain of weakness in the ankle or leg. The remaining amount of people will have general weakness over their entire body. Usually the common picture of someone with ALS includes a person who has slurred speech, trips or drops things, with muscle weakness, twitching, or cramps.

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