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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS is a medical disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is a neurodegenerative disorder that will cause scarring or hardening to the affected area.

There are three main types of nerves cells in the brain and spinal cord. In ALS the affected nerve cell is the motor neuron. The motor neuron is responsible for carrying electrical impulses or signals from the central nervous system to the muscles and the glands. When motor neurons are damaged, the brain would lose its ability to control and initiate muscle movement including the coordination between muscle movements.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of ALS will depend on the severity of the case and the affected area:

  • The affected individual will not be able to perform any normal daily activities
  • Walking will be difficult
  • Can easily trip and fall
  • Weakness can be felt in the leg, feet, and ankles
  • There are weakness and clumsiness in the hands
  • Speech may be affected and there may be trouble in swallowing
  • There will be twitching in the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and tongue
  • There is difficulty in holding your head up or keeping a good posture.

The first muscles that are affected usually start in the hands, feet or limbs and will slowly spread to the rest of the body. The muscles slowly become weak, as the disease advances and some of the nerve cells are destroyed. The most affected muscles are the muscles responsible for swallowing, speaking and breathing which can be life-threatening. Though it is a debilitating disease ALS won’t affect your ability to control your bowel or bladder movement. Your senses, as well as your mental state, are intact.

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If you think you are suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).