How to Diagnose ALS?

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ALS is difficult to diagnose early because it may mimic several other neurological diseases. Tests to rule out other conditions may include:
  • Blood and urine tests. Analyzing samples of your blood and urine in the laboratory may help your doctor eliminate other possible causes of your signs and symptoms.
  • Electromyogram (EMG). The test evaluates the electrical activity of your muscles when they contract and when they're at rest.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It can spot spinal cord tumors, herniated disks in your neck or other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
  • Nerve conduction study. This test can determine if you have nerve damage or certain muscle diseases.
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). Sometimes a specialist may remove a sample of your spinal fluid for analysis.
  • Muscle biopsy. If your doctor believes you may have a muscle disease rather than ALS, you may undergo a muscle biopsy.
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