Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that targets the nerve cells in both the brain and the spinal cord. ALS is considered to be the most common adult motor neuron disease worldwide. Motor neurons reach from the brain down to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord out to muscles throughout the body. The motor nerves that are most affected by ALS are those that provide voluntary movements and muscle control. In someone diagnosed with ALS, these motor neurons progressively degenerate until they eventually die. When this happens the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost.
Early symptoms of ALS often include muscle twitching and cramping, weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. As the disease progresses, symptoms can include cognitive and behavioral changes, as well as difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing.
While there is still limited understanding of what causes ALS, the disease has been split into two categories, sporadic and familial. Sporadic is the most common form of ALS, affecting around 90%-95% of all cases. It can present itself in anyone at any time. Familial ALS is less common, affecting only 5%-10% of all cases in the U.S. This form of the disease is inherited.
Once other diseases have been eliminated as potential causes for a patient’s symptoms, electrodiagnostic evaluation is essential in establishing the diagnostic certainty of ALS. For any questions for additional information, you can contact California Sports & Rehab Center at (310)-652-6060 or visit our website at http://emg-ncv.com (EMG/NCS). We can accommodate your needs in one of our convenient locations in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.