Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a neurological disease that progresses rapidly. The disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for the control of voluntary muscles. Early symptoms include cramping, twitching, or stiffness of the muscles; slurred nasal speech; difficulty swallowing or chewing, and muscle weakness in an arm or leg. Currently, the cause of ALS is not known. ALS is a fatal disease. No cure has been found for ALS, however, the drug riluzole (Rilutek) is FDA approved, and this drug reduces the damage to motor neurons by decreasing the release of glutamate. Read more: ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Symptoms, Causes, Life Expectancy Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation,...
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes HIV infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms and signs...
Constipation (Home Remedies and Medications for Relief)
Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week....
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS Symptoms, Causes, and Life Expectancy)
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage...
Peripheral neuropathy is a problem with the functioning of the nerves outside of the spinal cord. Symptoms may include numbness,...
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest,...
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness...
Muscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have...
Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, swallowing problems. Dysphagia is due to problems in nerve or muscle control. It is...
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep...
Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a group of signs and symptoms that show up two to four decades after the initial polio infection....
Dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with...
The definition of a genetic disease is a disorder or condition caused by abnormalities in a person's genome. Some types of...
A herniated disc may be caused by injury or degeneration from age. Symptoms depend on the location of the herniation and whether...
Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia. Symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss,...
Muscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing...
Your health care provider may refer you to a genetic professional. Universities and medical centers also often have affiliated...
Stem cells are referred to as undifferentiated cells because they have not yet committed to a developmental path to form specific...
Tumor grade is a system used to classify cancer cells in how likely the tumor is to grow, and how abnormal they look under a...
Hospice is a service that offers support, resources, and assistance to terminally ill patients and their families. In such late...
ALS - Early Symptoms
What ALS symptoms did you notice early in the course of the disease?Post View 8 Comments
ALS - Treatment
Have you or someone you know tried riluzole? Please discuss your experience.Post View 6 Comments
ALS - Experience
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with ALS? Please share your experience.Post View 6 Comments
ALS - Research
Have you, a friend, or relative participated in a research study for ALS? Please share your story.Post
Local ResourcesFind a local Neurologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Advance Medical Directives
- Fatigue, Tiredness, and Lethargy
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Difficulty With Speech
- Loss of Speech
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Sam Shepard Dead at 73
- White Collar Workers at Higher Odds of Death From ALS, Parkinson's
- Rogue Genes May Cause Some ALS Cases
- FDA Approves 1st New Drug for ALS in Decades
- Scientists Extend Lives of Mice With ALS
- Former NFL player Dwight Clark Has ALS
- Brain Chip Helps Paralyzed 'Type' With Their Mind
- Does Mercury in Fish Play a Role in ALS?
- Brain Scans Let 'Locked-In' ALS Patients Communicate
- Was Football Safer Back in the Day?
- Brain Implant Lets 'Locked-In' ALS Patient Communicate
- More Years Playing Football, Greater Risk of Brain Disease: Study
- Smoking Tied to Shorter Survival With ALS
- Better Detection Key to Rising ALS Cases in U.S.
- 'Ice Bucket Challenge' Funds a Boon to ALS Research
- Hundreds of U.S. Clinics Sell Unapproved Stem Cell 'Therapies'
- Stem Cells Deemed Safe for ALS Patients
- Pesticides Linked to Raised Risk of ALS
- Mouse Study Shows Cocaine Ravages Brain Cells
- Formaldehyde in Embalming Fluid May Raise ALS Risk for Funeral Directors
- Could Type 2 Diabetes Shield Against ALS?
- Mouse Study Suggests Brain Is Damaged Early in Lou Gehrig's Disease
- Common Blood Pressure Drug May Lower Risk For Lou Gehrig's Disease: Study
- Technology Helps 'Locked-In' Stroke Patient Communicate
- Patients Hope Ice Bucket Challenge Keeps Flowing
- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Blows Up Social Media
- Health Highlights: Aug. 18, 2014
- Blood Test Might Help Predict Survival With Lou Gehrig's Disease
- Researchers Spot Potential New Culprit Behind Alzheimer's
- Omega-3s in Diet May Help Ward Off Lou Gehrig's Disease
- Group Doctor Visits May Benefit Muscle Disorder Patients
- Scientists Make Gene Discovery in Lou Gehrig's Disease
- Early Signs That High-Calorie Diet May Help With Lou Gehrig's Disease
- NIH, NFL Team Up to Take On Concussion Research
- Newly Created Rats Designed to Speed Alzheimer's Research
- Newly Created Rats Designed to Speed Alzheimer's Research
- Can Brightly Colored Fruits, Veggies Protect Against ALS?
- Scientists ID Gene That Shows Progression in ALS Patients
- NFL Players at Higher Risk of Brain Diseases
- Writing Using the Eyes Might Help Paralyzed Communicate
- Toxins Afloat in Shark Fin Soup?
- Health Highlights: Feb. 1, 2012
- Scientists Use Brain Waves to Eavesdrop on the Mind
- Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2012
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter