Diferencias entre la esclerosis múltiple y la esclerosis lateral amiotrófica

Multiple Sclerosis vs. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: How do they differ?

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Nowadays there is considerable confusion between Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Most people think it is the same disease but in fact, they are very different, even though both are neurodegenerative diseases and have “sclerosis” in their name. As a result, we wanted to briefly explain the main differences between these diseases:


MS is an autoimmune disease that is possibly caused by a virus or an unknown antigen. In this case, the body’s immune system attacks the myelin—a substance that wraps around nerve fibers and permits the transmission of nerve impulses at an adequate rate—which results in poor electrical communication between neurons, causing numerous symptoms which we will describe below.

ALS, on the other hand, affects the nerve cells that control voluntary movements in both the brain and the spinal cord, meaning this disease only affects the motor system. Its cause is also unknown. 


The most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are visual disturbances, balance problems, speech problems, tremors or hand shaking, muscle weakness in arms or legs, and loss of muscle strength. Other symptoms that generally occur are cognitive impairments in memory, encoding and retrieval of information, and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, as mentioned before, patients with ALS only suffer from motor symptoms. Voluntary muscle action becomes affected, there is weakness in arms and legs, and speech difficulties and trouble swallowing. It is necessary to emphasize the severity of this disease since patients can eventually develop respiratory muscle dysfunction; as a result, patients with ALS live from 3 to 5 years after their diagnosis.


Currently there is no cure for either condition but treatments can help slow both diseases and ease their symptoms.

In both, treatment consists of drugs that slow the progression of the disease in combination with sessions of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

In addition, in Multiple Sclerosis, the neuropsychologist is fundamental for addressing cognitive deficits that develop in the disease course.


About 85% of MS patients develop periodic relapses followed by periods of remission (relapsing-remitting MS). Relapses affect all types of patients with symptoms lasting for 24-72 hours before fading away. Many times symptoms even disappear altogether which, however, does not prevent these patients from deteriorating as a result of each attack. The other 15% of MS patients show slow and gradual worsening from onset (primary progressive form).

In contrast, ALS always progresses at a steady rate, although the rate of deterioration may vary from patient to patient.

MS and ALS affect gender differently

Multiple Sclerosis affects mainly women between the ages of 20 and 40, and in its primary progressive form, affects mainly men between the ages of 50 and 60.

ALS usually strikes between the ages of 40 and 70, and is more common in men, by a ratio of 3 to 1.

Diferencias entre la esclerosis múltiple y la esclerosis lateral amiotrófica
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Diferencias entre la esclerosis múltiple y la esclerosis lateral amiotrófica
Actualmente hay mucha confusión entre la mielopatía desmielinizante (EM) y la enfermedad de Lou Gehrig (ELA). Hoy en NeuronUP explicamos las diferencias.
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4 thoughts on “Multiple Sclerosis vs. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: How do they differ?

  1. Avatar
    Milton Mansilla Suarez Sunday July 23rd, 2017 at 06:12 PM

    Fui diagnosticado con la esclerosis lateral amiotrofica en junio del 2015, se dice que hay farmacos que si bien no curan la enfermedad podrían detener un poco el avance de la enfermedad ¿cuales serian esos fármacos y donde los puedo conseguir? soy de la ciudad de Guayaramerin, Departamento, Boliva, si alguien podria a ayudarme a conseguir remedios

    • Avatar
      NeuronUP Monday July 24th, 2017 at 01:41 PM

      Hola Milton,

      Desde NeuronUP no podemos recomendar ningún fármaco ya que nosotros no somos médicos, ni especialistas en ELA. Nuestra recomendación es que acudas a un especialista y sea el quien te oriente en el tratamiento.

      ¡Gracias por tu comentario y mucho ánimo!

      ¡Un saludo!

  2. Avatar
    Peter Friday September 8th, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    My condition of life has improved drastically since I started using PeaPlex from Russel Science. Their products are PEA-opt certified which means that they are safe to use and yield maximum efficacy.

  3. Avatar
    Eunice Desaida Tuesday January 23rd, 2018 at 03:53 AM

    Para el comentario de Milton mi abuela fue diagnosticada con esclerosis y le recomendaron las pastillas Rylutek, en verdad hemos visto que ha hecho que la enfermedad tenga un progreso mas lento, aunque estas pastillas no son de un precio muy accesible
    Saludos y mantente fuerteeee

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