Q. What is the chance of getting ALS if someone in the family had it?

Answered by
Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed Abdelrahman Abouibrahim
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 31, 2018 and last reviewed on: Oct 26, 2022

Hello doctor,

My grandfather died of ALS, and now I am having signs of it. He is the only one that we know of that had it in the family. So my first question is, what are the chances of me getting it? The second question is I twitch in my left arm, left hand, left leg, and left calve non-stop. Sometimes I get it on my right side but it is more frequent on the left side. So is this BFS? I had a clean EMG three months ago, but I have started twitching more and have more weakness/soreness. If I had an EMG but did not twitch during the EMG, would it have still picked up ALS, or does the EMG just work when you twitch? The last thing is my vastus lateralis muscle on my left leg has twitched non-stop for six months and gets a painful soreness sometimes. Could this be ALS?



Welcome to

I understand your concerns.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is familial in only 10 % of the cases.

The diagnosis is mainly clinical (with characteristic symptoms). EMG and NCS (nerve conduction studies) may help in the diagnosis, symptoms include:

1. Fasciculations (muscle twitches) in the arm, leg, shoulder, or tongue.

2. Muscle cramps.

3. Tight and stiff muscles (spasticity).

4. Muscle weakness affecting an arm, leg, neck, or diaphragm.

5. Slurred and nasal speech.

6. Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

If you have some of these symptoms, the neurological examination is required.

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