Overview

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a-my-o-TROE-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROE-sis), or ALS, is a progressive nervous system (neurological) disease that destroys nerve cells and causes disability.

ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. ALS is a type of motor neuron disease in which nerve cells gradually break down and die.

Doctors usually don't know why ALS occurs. Some cases are inherited.

ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. Eventually, ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure for ALS, and eventually the disease is fatal.

ALS care at Mayo Clinic

Sept. 22, 2016
References
  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis/ALS.htm. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  2. Elman LB. Clinical features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other forms of motor neuron disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  3. Maragakis NJ. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  4. McCluskey L. Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  5. Ingre C, et al. Risk factors for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Clinical Epidemiology. 2015;7:181.
  6. Crum BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 25, 2016.
  7. Galvez-Jimenez N. Symptom-based management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  8. Elman LB, et al. Diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other forms of motor neuron disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  9. Miller RG, et al. Practice parameter update: The care of the patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Multidisciplinary care, symptom management, and cognitive/behavioral impairment (an evidence-based review): Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2009;73:1227.
  10. Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  11. Choudry RB, et al. Disease modifying treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  12. ALS Association chapter support groups. The ALS Association. , http://www.alsa.org/community/support-groups/. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  13. Services in your community. The ALS Association. http://www.alsa.org/community/certified-centers/. Accessed July 12, 2016.
  14. Riggin ER. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 10, 2016.