Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Types, Causes, 6 Symptoms, and Treatment

By | June 3, 2020
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a nerve disorder that can deteriorate over time, causing paralysis. In the beginning, ALS is characterized by wrinkles, weakened muscles, and speech disorders.

ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a disease that became famous in the year 2014 through the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is a challenge done by watering a bucket of cold water from the top of the head. This challenge was made to raise research funds against the disease.

Specifically, ALS attacks the brain and spinal nerves that control muscle movements (motor nerves). Over time, the nerves are increasingly damaged. As a result, ALS sufferers lose muscle strength, speech, ability to eat, and breathe.

ALS Types

It is known that there are two types of ALS disease, namely upper motor neurons (brain nerve cells) and lower motor neurons (nerve cells in the spinal cord).

The motor neurons serve to control all reflexes or spontaneous movements on the sleeve, leg and face. Additionally the motor neurons also serve to tell your muscles to contract. This is what tells your muscles to have the action like walking, running, lifting weights, breathe, swallowing food, and more.

Motor neurons function to help all your voluntary movements of your arm, leg, and face muscles. They tell your muscles to contract so you can walk, run, lift your smartphone, chew and swallow food, and even breathe.

ALS is one of the few diseases of motor neurons. Some of the others include: Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) progressive bulbar paralysis (PBP), and Psevdobulbarnogo palsy.

How common is this condition?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS disease is a rare disease. The disease generally affects more men than women at 40-60 years of age. Discuss with the doctor for more information.

What causes ALS?

ALS disease is an incident that is still being researched by experts. The cause is unknown and about 90 percent of cases occur sporadically. In about 10 percent of people, the disease is passed down to family members. Scientists also suspect an imbalance in body glutamate levels and autoimmune diseases as a cause of ALS disease. Please note, ALS disease is a non contagious disease.

However, the risk of a person experiencing ALS like Stephen Hawking will increase when someone:

  • Have ALS in your family
  • Aged 40-60 Years
  • In the age group of < 65 years, men are more risky with ALS than women
  • Smo**king or frequent exposure to cigarette smoke (passive smo**ker)
  • Impact of collision injuries

ALS symptoms

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Symptoms

The emergence of ALS symptoms and signs is usually gradual, so first feel the symptoms, you may not be aware of the severity of the condition.

The signs and symptoms of ALS are:

  • Speaking is unclear
  • Weakened muscles slowly spread to both hands and feet and other body parts
  • The back and neck muscles weaken, making the head become bowed to weakness
  • Muscle tissue Loss (atrophy)
  • Twitching tongue
  • Paralysis (Unable to move, talk, eat and swallow, and breathe).

ALS disease does not affect the senses (vision, smell, taste, hearing, and touch), but people may have mental problems (such as aphasia, or difficulty finding words).

There may still be other symptoms that are not listed. If you have questions about the signs of illness, consult a doctor.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatment


ALS disease is a condition that cannot be cured in total. The treatment provided by the doctor only aims to control the symptoms and support the patient as long as possible. One of the medicine is riluzole, which may extend the lifespan and in some people may slow the development of ALS, but the effect is limited.

Other medications

Other medications may help control the symptoms of seizures, difficulty swallowing, cramps, constipation, pain, and depression.

Abdominal tube

Abdominal tube may be used to feed if the patient is choked.


Nutritionists play a role in helping prevent weight loss.

Education and counseling

Education and counseling are also important to help soothe the psychic condition of a person who has ALS.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapies

Physical, occupational, and speech therapies can help patients stay strong and self-reliant.


Props such as braces, metal wrappers, wheelchairs, and breathing machines are also needed during the course of treatment. At a later stage, the main objective is to provide comfort to the condition of people with ALS disease.

Read also: Reactive Attachment Disorder: The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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