The first signs of ALS are usually weakness in the feet, legs hands and arms, and sometimes difficulty swallowing, speaking or breathing.
It is not uncommon for a person to experience symptoms of ALS before the disease has been diagnosed. ALS has no effect on the intellectual faculties, nor as a rule on the senses – taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing – nor sensitivity to touch.
However, ALS does have a devastating effect on patients and their families who must mourn nearly daily losses as the disease progresses. As emotional and financial reserves are depleted, patients become more and more dependent on the help of others and require increasingly costly care and equipment.