Signs and symptoms of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) usually take years to progress. They include:
- Stiffness, weakness and spasticity in your legs
- Tripping, difficulty with balance and clumsiness as the leg muscles weaken
- Weakness and stiffness progressing to your trunk, then your arms, hands, tongue and jaw
- Hoarseness, reduced rate of speaking, slurred speech and drooling as the facial muscles weaken
- Difficulties with swallowing and breathing late in the disease
Less commonly, PLS begins in your tongue or hands and then progresses down your spinal cord to your legs.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have persistent problems with stiffness or weakness in your legs, or with swallowing or speaking.
If your child develops involuntary muscle spasms or seems to be losing balance more often than usual, make an appointment with a pediatrician for an evaluation.
Jul. 12, 2013
- NINDS primary lateral sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/primary_lateral_sclerosis/primary_lateral_sclerosis.htm. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0434-1..C2009-0-40427-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0434-1&uniqId=364938937-2. Accessed April 29, 2013.
- Singer MA, et al. Primary lateral sclerosis. Muscle and Nerve. 2007;35:291.
- Juvenile primary lateral sclerosis. Genetics Home Reference. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/juvenile-primary-lateral-sclerosis/show/. Accessed April 29, 2013.
- Brugman F, et al. Adult-onset primary lateral sclerosis is not associated with mutations in the ALS2 gene. Neurology. 2007;69:702.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed April 29, 2013.
- Motor neuron diseases fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/motor_neuron_diseases/motor_neuron_diseases.htm. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Almeida V, et al. Primary lateral sclerosis: Predicting functional outcome. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. 2013;14:141.
- Iwata NK, et al. White matter alterations differ in primary lateral sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Brain. 2011;134:2642.
- Treatments and therapies. Spastic Paraplegia Foundation Inc. http://sp-foundation.org/understanding-hsp-pls/treatments-and-therapies/. Accessed May 1, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.