No. You cant. ALS has very definative markers.....and they cannot be confused with MS. If you have ALS, you would know it -100% for sure.
MS, on the other hand, doesnt have any markers- and once ALS, Lupus, Lymes and all deficiencies of vitamins and blood work are done-sometimes MS is what is left....if the symptoms, lesions (radiographically shown with a MRI) and general pathway of the disease are identified, everything else ruled out- the diagnosis is usually given.
Why are you asking? ALS is a very serious disease...and its completely able to be diagnosed. There arent any cases which I have heard of with someone having both...but Im sure its possible. Keep in mind, they are not related. They are very different diseases. ALS affects the nerves of the brain and spinal cord in a completely different way then MS affects it. The most common signs of ALS are choking and swallowing problems- substantial ones, not the 'now and then" type that we MSers suffer from...along with this, walking and climbing steps is usually almost impossible. Substantial weightloss usually occurs as well as twitching of the tounge. Also keep in mind that most cases of ALS are genetic, and blood work can rule out this.
If you have reason to ask, you should be talking to your Neuro about this. ALS is so uncommon- and advances so very quickly- that your Neuro would have definately ruled this out by now...
You sound really upset about this...do you need to ask more specific questions about something going on? We are here, if you do...but I highly suggest you talk to your Neuro- who should be able to put your mind at ease.
Really just a curiosity. But...Been having foot pain and leg weakness lately, so of course being the worry wort I am, I draw conclusions. Been constipated for days, and even went to er because the pain was so bad. Since then have had increased parasthesias and whatnot. just hoping its not the beginning of an exacerbation. Also tons of back pain and tightness the last few days.
youll be happy to know ALS does NOT affect the bladder or constipation! You are worrying unnecessarily.....as horrible as ALS is, its easily detected. Stop worrying- youll throw yourself into further excaberation...and enjoy the holidays.
Seriously, try hard to let the stress go- and relax. Its the best present you can give yourself....
My mother was dx with ALS in June. Her first symptoms were in April. When she went to the hospital because her fatigue was sooo bad (also, weight loss, clubbed fingers, visible muscle twitches that were constant - NO PAIN), they ran all the blood work test, performed an MRI, and gave a spinal tap. Her MRI showed a few lesions and her spinal came back positive for O-bands. They sent her home with a probable MS dx. Needless to say, her symtoms got worse. By June, I took her to UCSF ALS center and they confirmed ALS due to symptoms and EMG. She had denervation in arms and legs.
Does she have both MS and ALS? Maybe. She has had a few episodes of body numbness starting 20 years ago. This maybe from MS. The ALS is new and much more devastating. To my knowledge there is no test for ALS. They use deduction from symptoms, reflex response, and tools like an EMG. Also, it is thought that ALS is only genetic in less than 10% of the cases. Please remember that ALS is Very Uncommon.
One of the things I have learned is that it can strike at any age. She is 68 yrs old. I thought ALS was primarly young folks. Not so.
She did not experience pain until recently. That is do to the significant muscle loss and the inability to move her arms and legs. I agree with MSNIK. Don't worry yourself. Enjoy the holidays. ALS presents in particular ways. Your neurologist/doctors would let you know if it was motor neurological in nature. The two diseases are NOT related.
Anxious, thanks for that additional information. im so sorry about your mom. Its a rough thing to watch happen to someone we love. I do know, that the average age for ALS is over 50 years old. Not many young people get it, and when they do, its considered unusual. You seem to be handling this well, and staying strong- and your advice is much appreciated.
Thanks Nikki! Again, your helping another person calm their nerves! You're an angel.
It has been rough watching my mother go through this. It has been hard on my MS. The stress gets pretty overwhelming. I'm my mothers main caregiver. It's physically, emotionally, and mentally difficult. I just hope my condition doesn't faulter too much. There isn't alot I can do about it right now. I take every available moment to rest. Thanks again for your support on the boards.