Old 12-30-2008, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ALS-like symptoms, but not 100% sure


First I just wanna say I'm so glad a forum like this exists; it sure beats going to doctors every time a new symptom begins. Speaking of symptoms, here are mine as best I can describe them:

Twitching of lower-left eyelid, usually occurs once every 30-60 minutes, but if I'm tired or sleep deprived it twitches a lot more often (sometimes I stay awake for 40+ hours; more on that below). The twitching first began maybe a couple years ago, but it only occurred seldom at first so I really didn't think much of it. Driving becomes a little scary when this happens, as it makes my left eye pulsate. The twitches last for about 20-30 seconds then stop again.

Hypothyroidism. About 8 months ago I found out from a blood test that my thyroid hormone levels were off so my doc put me on 50mcg levothyroxine once daily. Before I started the medication, I would feel a bulge in my throat that I became very self conscious about, which also lead to sleep issues as my breathing was more labored. The bulge in my throat first began about 10-11 months ago, and after the thyroid meds kicked in (after 4+ weeks) the bulge seemed to go away, but now it's back even worse so I might just need an adjustment of the levothyroxine dosage.

Excessive saliva production. First started around the same time as the bulge in my throat (10-11 months ago), however even when the bulge disappeared the saliva problem remained, and still remains today. When I'm not sleeping the saliva issue is not that bad, however when I lie in bed my throat constantly fills up with mucous that I have to clear every couple of minutes. I have been to an ENT doctor specifically for this issue and so far no answers.

Slight dizziness, at all times. I can only describe this as a light fog that's constantly with me in my head, with varying degrees of intensity. First started around the same time as the eyelid twitching (couple years ago). The term dizziness is not quite right since it's not a full-blown impairment really, but I certainly don't seem to have the same mental clarity that I used to.

Muscle stiffness and weakness. This is the most recent symptom and it only started a few weeks ago. Not all muscles are affected; right now I only have problems with my jaw and facial muscles, and occasionally my left wrist. I still can lift weights, but I have to take more precautions because of my left wrist. Chewing food has become slightly more difficult, and my face and jaw muscles feel stiff all the time.

That's it for my symptoms. My diet is well-rounded and I take multivitamins everyday, but I am a little overweight. If anyone needs more information from me, please let me know. These symptoms seem to fit well with ALS, but I just wanted to get some opinions from others before proceeding further.

Thank You in advance to anyone who is kind enough to respond

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Old 12-31-2008, 12:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not a doctor, nor diagnosed with ALS, but a couple of comments.

Benign twitching around the eye is extremely common, and is often related to stress. It has been jokingly referred to as the "grad school twitch,' because it is very common in stressed, sleep deprived young professionals.

It seems to me that you should work with the Dr. on the obvious, which is your thyroid. Muscle and joint fatigue and pain are common symptoms of thyroid problems, and if your symptoms are getting worse (especially the lump which strikes me as a red flag), or not improving, you need to let your doctor know.

Best of luck,

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Old 01-01-2009, 01:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I wanted to piggy-back on Robert's comments regarding twitches. Being really busy, over-extended, and sleep deprived practically guarantee a facial twitch, especially the one around the eyes. In grad school we wore those twitches like badges of honor.

And every doctor I have seen since trying to figure out my own symptoms has immediately asked about thyroid function. It seems like such a likely culprit I would start there-

Wishing you the best of luck figuring this all out (and oh look at the time-a happy new year too!)

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