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Dementia in ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) (cont.)

Dementia in ALS Symptoms

Frontal lobe dementia in ALS usually appears as a change in personality and behavior. The exact nature of this change varies from person to person. The following symptoms are common:

  • Apathy (lack of interest, withdrawal)
  • Lack of emotion
  • Reduced spontaneity
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Restlessness or overactivity
  • Social inappropriateness
  • Mood swings

Cognitive symptoms include the following:

  • Memory loss
  • Loss of speech and/or language, partial or complete
  • Loss of reasoning or problem-solving ability

Some individuals develop repetitive rituals involving hoarding, dressing, wandering, or using the bathroom. Others may overeat or develop strange eating rituals.

The cognitive changes often precede symptoms of ALS. Throughout the course of the dementia, the following typical signs and symptoms of ALS also progress:

  • Limb weakness
  • Swallowing problems
  • Muscle wasting (atrophy)
  • Muscle twitches (fasciculations)
  • Shortness of breath

When to Seek Medical Care

You are the best person to judge whether you are experiencing changes that suggest ALS and dementia. Any changes in personality, behavior, speech, or memory warrant a visit to your health care provider.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014
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