I have watched my father die of ALS so I can tell you that you will know when you have it. I have read somewhere that it progresses fast. Relatively fast. I have read that ALS patients live on average 5 years from diagnosis. My dad died within 2 years so there's the speed of progression for you. It's not that fast even when it's fast. Also, it starts in your hands or your feet or your tongue. Never biceps, never pectoralis maior, never quadriceps. It is said that you notice it when you trip on a flat surface a lot (not twice a day but all the time) or when you can't button up a shirt (not missing the buttons but not being able to grab them with fingers) or when you have slurred speech (not misspelling words). And then you trip on a flat surface or on a very low curb. Then you are buttoning up your shirt and you miss the button. But that's being clumsy. When you get ALS, you become weak. And that's not lifting something with difficulty, that's not being able to lift it at all! That's not tripping over a curb, that's falling on your nose on a flat surface. And it doesn't feel like anything, you just lose the ability to move a muscle. But you feel if someone touches it. Also, the twitching starts after weakness because it is caused by motor neurons trying to fire but they don't. And from what I've heard, this twitching is not that intense vibrating of the muscle (like the one in the eyelid) but more like crawling under your skin. So when you feel the creepy crawlers on a part of your muslce and you feel no weakness, you're fine.
So let me tell you. If you can turn a doorknob, you're fine. If you can stand up and walk, you're fine. If you can talk to people, you're fine. Not satisfied? Try moving your fingers like you are typing on a keyboard (better not type for real, you might miss some letters and get scared again
). People with ALS can't do that. Try standing on your toes. People with ALS can't do that. Try standing on your toes on one leg! (lean on something because for some people it is hard to stand on one leg, let alone on the toes of one leg) Read something aloud. People with ALS find it very hard to speak. BUT! Anxiety can make you fail all these tests. If that happens, and you have to be severely anxious if you fail these simple tests, try getting mildly drunk. 3-4 beers, few glasses of wine, few shots of tequila... And then take these tests again. You have to cheat the consciouss part of your brain.
If you get a MRI, and nothing turns up, relax, you don't have it. They can see it clearly because the affected muscles don't have an electrical charge anymore.
Another thing about the brain. Google "mind over matter". It means that the mind is capable of creating physical changes in your body. For example, muscle twitches that appeared after reading about ALS symptoms misteriously dissapear after you read that twitches appear only after the weakness sets in. And then you become weak because ALS does not start with twitches. DUH! Have you ever felt cold on a winter day and then you meet a friend and you both agree that it's cold? And then you start talking about some other random BS and you suddenly realise that you don't feel cold again because you forgot you were cold? That's mind over matter for you. This is but a simple example because mastering your mind is no easy task, especially when you suffer from anxiety... Another example, I have been showering every day with cold water. And I mean really cold water, even in winter. First I wash myself with hot water and then I turn the hot water off (this hydrotheraphy works like that but also because it's harder to rinse out the shampoo out of your hair with cold water :D). When I had started, I shivered in the cold water and was shocked every time I turned off the hot water. But now, after a few years, it's the best part of a shower. That's because my mind knows I am not doing anything bad to myself so fight or flight doesn't turn on. Everyone shoud try it (except if you have a heart condition becuse cold water causes vasoconstriction), it relaxes the muscles but also the mind. And afterwards you feel really great. Haven't showered with only hot water for years without exceptions. It's that great. You just have to come to terms with it. :D