Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Symptoms of ALS include:

  • Muscle weakness and wasting (atrophy) in the:

    • Arms and legs

    • Torso

    • Breathing muscles

    • Throat and tongue

Weakness usually begins in the arms and legs. It worsens slowly over time.

  • Muscle twitching, cramps, stiffness, and muscles that tire easily

  • Slowed speech that becomes progressively harder to understand

  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing; choking

  • Weight loss because of:

    • Muscle breakdown

    • Poor nutrition caused by problems swallowing

  • Sudden involuntary bursts of laughter or crying

  • Changes in the way the person walks. Eventually, loss of ability to walk.

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