What Are the Symptoms of ALS?

Note: The symptoms of ALS may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

ALS causes muscles to be weak and soft, or stiff, tight and spastic. Cramps and muscle twitches are common. Symptoms may be limited to a single body region, or mild symptoms may affect more areas of the body. When ALS begins in the bulbar motor neurons, the muscles used for swallowing and speaking are affected first. Rarely, symptoms begin in the respiratory muscles.

As the disease develops, symptoms become more widespread. Some muscles become paralyzed, while others are weakened or unaffected. In late-stage ALS, most voluntary muscles are paralyzed.