How is ALS Diagnosed?

ALS is a difficult disease to diagnose because there is no single test or procedure that can define the disease. Through a clinical exam, that includes the following, an ALS diagnosis can be determined:
Electrodiagnostic tests including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV)

Blood and urine studies including high-resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid, and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals

  • Spinal tap
  • X-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Myelogram of the cervical spine
  • Muscle and/or nerve biopsy
  • A thorough neurological examination.

In its early stages, ALS may mimic several other neurological diseases. Patients should also seek a second opinion from an ALS expert - someone who diagnoses and treats many ALS patients and one who also may be preforming ALS research.


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