Lou Gehrig's disease

What is a Lou Gehrig's disease?

Lou Gehrig's disease, usually called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a chronic and progressive neurological disease that is often fatal.

Lou Gehrig's disease affects both upper and lower motor neurons, causing them to degenerate and die. As the disease progresses movement becomes increasingly difficult and ultimately swallowing and breathing are severely impaired.

Most often, the individual affected retains full control of their mind and personality, although communication becomes extremely difficult. Patients are trapped in a body that no longer responds.

Approximately a quarter of cases are bulbar onset whereby the individual has difficult speaking or swallowing. Three quarters of Lou Gehrig's disease are limb onset and the person has trouble walking, or will notice problems in balance, tripping or falling.

What are the major categories of Lou Gehrig's disease?


  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • progressive muscular atrophy (PMA)
  • spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
  • progressive bulbar palsy (PBP)
  • primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)


What are the signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease?

Affects of ALS can be seen in any of the following: legs, arms, torso (limb onset) and/or areas above the neck (bulbar onset).

Signs of motor neuron disease include difficulty swallowing, loss of balance, inability to control legs or arms, spasticity, brisk reflexes, muscle weakness or muscle atropy.

Feel you may be affected?

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Our forum has over a thousand members that can help you through diagnosis, provide valuable insight into living with ALS, offer friendly advice and much needed support.

The task of learning about Lou Gehrig's disease and finding resources can be daunting. Let others, people that understand the complications of this disease help you along the way.

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