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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index

My husband started having tingling and cramping in his left hand about nine months ago. He works in the computer field, so we assumed it was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He was referred to a neurologist who performed an EMG. We found out this week that his EMG came back abnormal. Yesterday morning he had blood tests and urine tests done. On May 5th he is having a brain and spinal MRI. We are very scared. The doctor has not told us what he is thinking. However, after searching the Internet, we saw the symptoms of ALS and we are very frightened.

These are his symptoms: He has lost strength in his left hand and left arm. He can no longer grip a bottle of soda pop and twist the cap with his left hand to open it. Last week, he realized he cannot utilize his left hand to button his jeans. The doctor tested his left leg and said it is a little weaker than the right. He also has twitching that occurs in his upper body. The doctor referred to it as a "sparkling effect." It looks like little fireworks going off on his skin. You can visually see the twitches take place around his upper body area (upper arms and chest). Is this Fasciculation? We measured his left forearm this morning and it is one inch smaller than his right forearm, so there is atropy. He also had hyperactive reflexes in his left leg when the doctor did the reflex test on his knee. He did not have the Babinski reflex on his foot, though.

He just turned thirty eight years old and we have both a three-year old and a five-year old daughter. I am so worried right now and I cannot imagine waiting for weeks and weeks to find out what the doctor is thinking. I have been reading all of the information I can find on ALS. My husband's symptoms sound like they fit this disease so well.

The only aspect I have seen that might not fit ALS is that he has not deteriorated much in nine months time. He has gone from cramping and tingling in his left hand to losing some strength in his left hand and arm. However, I am not familiar with the deterioration rate. Everything I have read portrays the disease as having a very fast deterioration rate. But, what is considered fast with ALS? Six months? Twelve months? Is this something that could offer us some hope? He also has not lost any weight.

Is there anything else this can possibly be besides ALS? Can someone offer some personal insight? I would appreciate any opinions. Please share any info or opinions you can offer. I don't know where to turn and was happy to find this bulletin board.
Hi Caroline - I hope your husband does not have ALS, as it is a horrible disease that just took my dad a few weeks back.

I, of course, am not his doctor, but I can tell you about my dad's progression. Me first had stiffness in his neck and tingling in his hands in November 2002. He lost use of his hands slowly - last summer, he could still manage to somewhat button his shirt, open a bottle of wine (with a little bit of help). His deterioration quickened toward the end of last year, which would have been a year or so after his first symptoms...

I will say a prayer for you, your husband and your family. I pray it is something else. In the meantime, keep your chin up and try to stay positive.


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