Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS affects both your upper and lower motor neurons. With ALS, you gradually lose control over the muscles that help you walk, talk, chew, swallow, and breathe. Over time, they weaken and waste away. You may also have stiffness and twitches in your muscles.
Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
PLS is similar to ALS, but it affects only upper motor neurons.
It causes Weakness and stiffness in the arms and legs, a slowed walk, and poor coordination and balance. Speech also becomes slow and slurred.
Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP)
This is a form of ALS. Many people with this condition will eventually develop ALS.
The stem has motor neurons that help you chew, swallow, and speak. With PBP, you might slur your words and have trouble chewing and swallowing. It also makes it hard to control emotions. You may laugh or cry without meaning to.
This is similar to progressive bulbar palsy. It affects motor neurons that control the ability to talk, chew, and swallow. Pseudobulbar palsy causes people to laugh or cry with no control.
Progressive Muscular Atrophy
This form is much less common than ALS or PBP. Weakness usually starts in your hands and then spreads to other parts of the body. Your muscles get weak and may cramp. This disease can turn into ALS.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
This causes Weakness in the upper legs and arms, and in the trunk.
SMA comes in different types that are based on when symptoms first appear:
Type 1 (also called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease). Children with this type can't sit on their own or hold up their head. They have weak muscle tone, poor reflexes, and trouble swallowing and breathing.
Type 2. Kids with this form can sit, but they can't stand or walk alone. They may also have trouble breathing.
Type 3 (also called Kugelberg-Welander disease). It affects how a child can walk, run, stand up, and climb stairs. Kids with this type may also have a curved spine or shortened muscles or tendons around their joints.
Males with Kennedy's disease have shaking hands, muscle cramps and twitches, and Weakness in their face, arms, and legs. They may have trouble swallowing and speaking. Men can have enlarged breasts and a low sperm count.