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Drew1984

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Hey everyone this is my first post and I am curious as to what the specific symptoms of ALS consist of. Obviously the reason I am asking is because I fear that I may have this horrific disease, so that being said I will try to be as specific as possible when it comes to the symptoms that I believe I have.

The following is a comprehensive list of the symptoms I am having or have had within the last year.

1. Weakness in my legs that is especially noticeable while walking down steps.
2. Difficulty in swallowing my saliva (I have never had any difficulty swallowing food)(This comes and goes)
3. Headaches almost daily
4. Fasciculations from head to toe that usually go away as soon as I move the affected body part, however sometimes when I stop moving the affected muscle the fasciculations return.
5. Sometime I will get this feeling of being off balance. It usually goes away when I sit down.
6. Night Sweats (Haven't had in awhile)
7. Night Chills (Haven't had in a while)
8. Stiff/ache jaw that seems to get worse while I talk or read out loud. (Comes and goes)
9. Sometimes I slur while reading out loud.
10. Forgetfulness
11. Difficulty forming words
12. muscle aches ( feels like I pulled a muscle when I haven't done anything strenuous)
13. Random shooting pains in my joints especially my elbows and knees
14. Palms ache (I dont think they are cramping because they dont hurt too bad)
15. Feet ache (I dont think they are cramping because they dont hurt too bad)
16. Two day ago my left pointer finger got really weak and it seems to be getting better but It has really freaked me out.
17. Shortness of breathe
18. Feeling as if my heart is going to pound its way out of my chest.
19. My left hand is smaller than my right
20. Weight gain of approximately 20 lbs in a year

A little background information that may be helpful is a lot of these symptoms started to appear when I moved from Louisiana to Ohio to attend college. Prior to moving I would visit the gym for a couple hours a day and now that I am in school I havent got enough time to work out. My fiance seems to think that a lot my symptoms could be caused by anxiety/stress that going to school has caused.

I went and saw a neurologist about a week ago and I voiced my concerns and proceeded to give me an examination. From that examination he essentially told me that I do not have ALS or MS but just to be 100% sure he scheduled me for an MRI next friday.

I know that this forum and its members are not here to diagnosis others , however I would like to know what everyone thinks about the symptoms that I have expierience in the last year and whether or not they could be contributed to the onset of ALS. Please dont hesitate to ask me questions, because I have a hard time explaining a lot of my symptoms. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Thanks,

Andrew
 

trfogey

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I know that this forum and its members are not here to diagnosis others , however I would like to know what everyone thinks about the symptoms that I have expierience in the last year and whether or not they could be contributed to the onset of ALS. Please dont hesitate to ask me questions, because I have a hard time explaining a lot of my symptoms. I look forward to hearing from you all.

First, why don't you believe your doctor when he tells you that he doesn't think you have ALS?

Second, what symptoms make you think that you might have it?

Third, if I tell you that what you have described here doesn't sound like ALS at all, are you going to believe me?
 

Drew1984

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Re: ALS

I apologize if I offended any of you please know that it was not my intention, however I am just looking for information regarding the disease. I find that it is extremely difficult to perform simple everyday activities while constantly worried. I realize that many of you are probably really annoyed of all the hypochondriacs out there that worry they have some type of horrific disease such as ALS. I was only looking for answers and maybe a little reassurance, because in all honesty it is hard in betweed neurologist visits and cat scans and MRI's, it just leaves to much time to sit and think (maybe I need a hobby). I would still love to hear what everyone thinks about my symptoms and whether or not they could be associated with the onset of ALS.

The symptoms that make me think I could have ALS are the weakness, difficulty swallowing, faciculations and now the weakness in my left pointer finger.

Thanks,

Andrew
 

trfogey

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Re: ALS

I apologize if I offended any of you please know that it was not my intention, however I am just looking for information regarding the disease. I find that it is extremely difficult to perform simple everyday activities while constantly worried. I realize that many of you are probably really annoyed of all the hypochondriacs out there that worry they have some type of horrific disease such as ALS. I was only looking for answers and maybe a little reassurance, because in all honesty it is hard in betweed neurologist visits and cat scans and MRI's, it just leaves to much time to sit and think (maybe I need a hobby). I would still love to hear what everyone thinks about my symptoms and whether or not they could be associated with the onset of ALS.

You haven't offended anyone that I can see. You certainly haven't offended me, so set that concern aside.

I see you only answered one of my questions, so I'll address what you said below. I'd still appreciate an answer to the other two questions, though -- it would help me get a better feel for the real reason you are here.

The symptoms that make me think I could have ALS are the weakness, difficulty swallowing, faciculations and now the weakness in my left pointer finger.

The fact that you have "symptoms" in three different areas of the nervous system (legs, mouth/throat, and hand) over the course of a year, yet have no substantial disability to report (at least one substantially paralyzed limb, highly impaired or unintelligible speech, or numerous and increasingly serious choking episodes) casts significant doubt on the idea that you have ALS.

With ALS, it's not how your body feels, but how your body fails. ALS is a progressive degenerative neuromuscular disease, which means that, over time (and a short time at that), more and more nerves and the muscles that they control will fail -- permanently. It starts in one part of the body -- a hand, a foot, your mouth or tongue -- and spreads through the body from there.

If no muscles are failing, it's not ALS. If the muscle failures aren't spreading -- from the fingers up the arm, from the foot up the leg, or from the tongue to the rest of the mouth and throat -- it's not likely to be ALS. If your problems come and go, it's not ALS.

In short, the story you told in your original post doesn't sound like ALS to anyone who has had close experience with the disease. Are there any details that you care to add that might fill out your story a little better?
 

Drew1984

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I want to believe my doctor when he says that it is not ALS or MS, however I read online that there are numerous tests that are needed in order to completely rule out ALS and the only tests that I have had done are blood, CT Scan and a physical examination. I just have a hard time trying not to worry. What tests should I specifically ask my neurologist to perform.

I think the main reason that I am so set on there being something neurologically wrong with me is because my great grandfather had Parkinson's and my grandfather had MS, so its easy for me to think that there could be something neurologically wrong.

The reason I have come to the forums is to ask questions and hopefully get some answers just like all the other people who come here. It is comforting to talk to people that are very knowledgeable when it comes to ALS. I will try to take what you said into consideration when it comes to my symptoms, its just hard to be optimistic even though I do know that the chances of a 26 year old developing ALS are extremely rare. I find your comments very reassuring and I appreciate the time that you have taken to address some of my concerns. I also have a hard time staying off of google, it would seem as if the internet is somewhat of a double edged sword in that it contains both fact and fiction, which is difficult to discern.

Thanks,

Andrew Smith
 

Tokahfang

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Feeling weak and being weak are different. The mostly likely reason you haven't had any more rule out tests for ALS is that you lack it's primary symptom: clinical weakness.

Trfogey is quite right about the "different areas of the neurological system" bit, too. MND starts in one place, and from what I understand, MS lesions start one at a time, not all over the place.
 

trfogey

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I want to believe my doctor when he says that it is not ALS or MS, however I read online that there are numerous tests that are needed in order to completely rule out ALS and the only tests that I have had done are blood, CT Scan and a physical examination. I just have a hard time trying not to worry. What tests should I specifically ask my neurologist to perform.

Andrew, you've got it exactly backwards. ALS can be ruled out with a simple clinical examination. It's when something shows up on that clinical examination that they order the other tests.

If your doctor is only ordering blood tests and radiological studies at this point and still tells you that he doesn't think you have ALS or MS, you probably didn't have the symptoms that worry them about neuromuscular diseases. He's looking for things like endocrine or metabolic disorders, maybe orthopedic problems in your spine or injuries or tumors in your body or brain. All of those things (even the tumors) are far more likely than ALS in someone your age.

I think the main reason that I am so set on there being something neurologically wrong with me is because my great grandfather had Parkinson's and my grandfather had MS, so its easy for me to think that there could be something neurologically wrong.

You had 7 great-grandparents that probably didn't have a neurological disease. You had three grandparents that probably didn't have a neurological disease. The two ancestors that had neurological diseases didn't have ALS. I don't follow the way you're connecting your family history to ALS.

The reason I have come to the forums is to ask questions and hopefully get some answers just like all the other people who come here. It is comforting to talk to people that are very knowledgeable when it comes to ALS. I will try to take what you said into consideration when it comes to my symptoms, its just hard to be optimistic even though I do know that the chances of a 26 year old developing ALS are extremely rare. I find your comments very reassuring and I appreciate the time that you have taken to address some of my concerns. I also have a hard time staying off of google, it would seem as if the internet is somewhat of a double edged sword in that it contains both fact and fiction, which is difficult to discern.

If you don't find your doctor's statement sufficient cause to be optimistic that you don't have ALS, along with the statistical odds, you have completely failed to discern truth from fiction in the Internet information that you are stuffing in your brain.

Seriously.

Here's an easy question for you. Describe the weakness in your pointer finger to us. Tell us everything that it does that leads you to say that it has weakness.
 

Drew1984

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The weakness that I feel in my left hand is primarily associated with my pointer finger and it seemed to appear out of nowhere. I was taking a shower and tried to push down on the shampoo to open the lid and I found that it was very difficult. I suppose that the exact pain would feel like the weakness one would feel after they completed a strenuous workout coupled with a strained muscle. The weakness seems to originate in my finger and run up my forearm. It is almost like an ache that makes my pointer finger feel weak.

As far as my family history is concerned it just seems like I have this cloud of possible neurological disease's constantly looming over me. It is just something that makes me think that there could be a relationship between my family and neurological disorders. I know that I am probablly being a hypochondriac, however it is hard not to worry.
 

trfogey

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The weakness that I feel in my left hand is primarily associated with my pointer finger and it seemed to appear out of nowhere. I was taking a shower and tried to push down on the shampoo to open the lid and I found that it was very difficult. I suppose that the exact pain would feel like the weakness one would feel after they completed a strenuous workout coupled with a strained muscle. The weakness seems to originate in my finger and run up my forearm. It is almost like an ache that makes my pointer finger feel weak.

Your original post in this thread was very long. Did your pointer finger cause you any trouble while you were typing it? If so, what kind of problems?

As far as my family history is concerned it just seems like I have this cloud of possible neurological disease's constantly looming over me. It is just something that makes me think that there could be a relationship between my family and neurological disorders. I know that I am probablly being a hypochondriac, however it is hard not to worry.

Why? Has any doctor ever told you to worry about your family history? Isn't it just as likely that you inherited the healthy nervous systems of your other ten ancestors rather than the unhealthy nervous systems of the two, if not more so?
 
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