The ALS Symptoms You Need to Know for Each Stage of the Disease

Medication and "ALS"

Learning about these stages can help those with ALS.

Being given a diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) can raise a lot of questions and concerns, both for the individual diagnosed and his or her loved ones. What’s the cause of ALS? What are the ALS symptoms that may be experienced now, and how will they alter in the years to come? Where can I go to find necessary support?

Upwards of 30,000 Americans are presently diagnosed with ALS and nearly 5,600 new patients are diagnosed with the disease every year. And although the actual cause is not clear, some scientific studies point to complicated risk factors, such as a doubled risk of ALS in veterans who were in service during the Gulf War.

Although each person can be affected by ALS differently from others, the progression of the disease does seem to follow specific phases. Learning about these stages can help those with ALS and those who care for them put into action the most appropriate plan of care. Advanced Home Health Care, top providers of in-home rehabilitation services in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and surrounding areas, shares details below:

Early Stages

  • ALS symptoms might be detected only in one particular area of the body
  • However, milder symptoms may affect more than that one region
  • For some people, the first impacted muscles are those used for speaking, swallowing or breathing

Possible Symptoms:

  • Poor balance
  • Fatigue
  • Slurring of speech
  • Weakened grip
  • Stumbling when walking

Middle Stages

  • Some particular muscles may be paralyzed, while others are weaker or totally unaffected
  • Indicators of ALS are now more extensive
  • Twitching may be noticeable

Possible Symptoms:

  • Difficulties in standing up without assistance
  • Challenges with eating and swallowing, which can lead to choking
  • Difficulty breathing, especially when lying down
  • Possible uncontrolled and inappropriate laughing or crying, known as the pseudobulbar affect (PBA)

Late Stages

  • The individual with ALS needs full assistance to care for his/her needs
  • Speaking may no longer be possible
  • The individual can no longer eat or drink by mouth

Possible Symptoms:

  • Paralysis in the majority of voluntary muscles
  • Breathing is greatly affected, causing fatigue, unclear thinking, headaches and susceptibility to pneumonia
  • Mobility is significantly impacted

Obtaining care from a professional in-home caregiver, such as Advanced Home Health Care, can enhance quality of life for individuals impacted by ALS symptoms. Our skilled caregivers work with families to develop an individualized plan of care, allowing those experiencing symptoms of ALS to maintain dignity and the highest possible level of independence at all times. As providers of professional home rehabilitation services in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and surrounding areas, we invite you to contact us online or call 800.791.7785 to learn more. To view our full service area, click here.

The Care You Need. The Quality You Deserve.