Medicine does not define specific stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) because it develops differently in each person. However, ALS is progressive gradually extending loss of muscle control to all parts of the body.
In the early stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, symptoms can be so subtle that patient’s may ignore them. As ALS progresses, patients continue losing the ability to perform basic tasks. A few development cognitive impairment although most remain mentally alert and aware of their situation. Eventually, patients reach a stage where they no longer can sit, stand or move without support. Breathing may require respiratory devices. The final stage of ALS is the death of the patient, usually within five years of diagnosis.