Everyone is different. My mother began with breathing difficulties and then went on to limb issues, then speech and swallowing, and is just now after 2 years dealing with breathing issues again. Sorry there aren't more definite answers for you.
Cody ... one of the problems with comparing symptoms with others (The good old "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours" ) is that a) everybody really is different, that isn't just a slogan, and b) other people may have other health issues, and c) it simply doesn't matter, because every case of ALS really is different. Or did I say that already?
Short answer to your first question: In my case, serious breathing "issues" came before any other symptoms.
Correct answer to your first question: Serious breathing issues came before my ALS symptoms possibly because I also have heart disease. I was in the hospital having an angiogram to see what was behind my shortness of breath which had developed a couple months before, when the cardiologist poked a hole in an artery, and I had to have open heart surgery to repair it. Waking up from an induced coma three days later, I had slurred speech, blurred vision and still had the shortness of breath.
So ... was the shortness of breath the first sign of ALS? Who knows. Does it matter? I don't think so.
Hi Cody ... the shortness of breath feels like when you are winded after running. You're just not taking in as much oxygen as you need, but it happens when you have NOT been exercising. Sometimes it results in faster breathing like you're panting. The thing with breathing ... it leads to panic really quick. You can go 40 days without food, and maybe a few days to a week without water ... but only a few minutes without oxygen.
As to the lump in your throat, that is a classic anxiety symptom, also found in Benign Fasciculation Syndrome. As I understand it, it is not a symptom of ALS.
as for the lump in your throat, I had that as well. I really did refuse to think that it could be anxiety. I had such an intense tight and lump feeling in my throat in the spring. After about a month or so on the lexapro, that lump thing did go away! It has been the only thing that has gone away!
I have the shortness of breath thing too. It was so bad that it happen while reading to kids at night. It now comes and goes. But I do have it. IT has gotten better and it has become alot less than in the spring.
The wierd thing for me is that it is better when I lay down. I know that alot of people get it worse when lying down and for me it is better when I lay down.