Difference Between ALS and MS (With Table)

The terms ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and MS (multiple sclerosis) are often interchanged (multiple sclerosis). Both of these illnesses affect and target the central nervous system of the patient. People with ALS and MS are more likely to have cognitive (knowing and perceiving) and memory problems. Patients with MS are more likely to develop mental disorders than patients with ALS. The most common symptom of ALS is a loss of physical skills.


The difference between ALS and MS is that in ALS, where a person’s health steadily worsens over time, the course of MS is unpredictable and varies from person to person. At the time of diagnosis, doctors cannot predict the severity, rate of progression, or specific symptoms of MS.

Lou Gehrig’s disease, commonly known as ALS, is a chronic, degenerative illness. It affects the nervous system’s motor neurons, which are situated near the spinal cord. Motor neurons transmit messages throughout the body in a healthy body, instructing muscles and body systems to function. ALS will quickly kill these neurons, preventing them from functioning normally.

MS is a central nervous system (CNS) disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. The protective layer of the central nervous system is destroyed. The transmission of information from the brain to the body is slowed, making motor activities difficult. It also delays the transmission of sensory information to the brain, decreasing feeling. MS is rarely fatal or completely incapacitated.

Comparison Table Between ALS and MS

Parameters of ComparisonALSMS
CommonIn Men.In Female.
TargetsThe central nervous system and brain.Spinal cord and the brain.
SuffersPatients have greater physical difficulties and issues.Patients with MS have greater mental issues and challenges than those of Als.
Diagnosedages of 40 and 70.ages of 20 and 50.
Late-StagePatients who are in the late stages of this illness are often paralyzed.Individuals in the late stages of this disease may have movement issues, although they are unlikely to become totally disabled.

What is ALS?

ALS is a disease that damages motor neurons and progresses quickly, with symptoms that become worse with time. The illness is marked by the loss of real motor neurons in the spinal cord, resulting in weakness and degeneration in the arms, legs, mouth, and throat.

Nerve cells that have died can no longer transmit impulses to the muscles. Secondary atrophy (Amyotrophy) of the muscles regulated by these cells occurs as a consequence of this. The condition is known as “lateral sclerosis” because of the hardness of the lateral columns of the spine. Although both sides of the body are affected by ALS, atrophy may begin on one side and become symmetrical as the illness advances.

The person’s intelligent thinking, vision, hearing, or sensations of taste, smell, or touch are unaffected by ALS. It usually has little impact on sexual, bowel, or bladder functions. There is no cure for ALS and no effective therapy to slow or halt the disease’s development. ALS eventually kills all of the neurons in the brain. When this occurs, the body stops responding to brain instructions, and people with late-stage ALS become paralyzed.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a brain and spinal cord illness that may be debilitating (central nervous system). The protective coating (myelin) that surrounds nerve fibers is attacked by the immune system in MS, causing communication difficulties between the brain and the rest of the body. The illness may eventually cause irreversible nerve injury or degeneration. The amount of nerve damage and which nerves are damaged determines the signs and symptoms of MS.

Some individuals with severe MS lose their ability to walk independently or at all, while others go into remission for extended periods of time without experiencing any new symptoms. Multiple sclerosis has no known cure. Treatments, on the other hand, may help patients recover faster from attacks, change the course of the illness, and control symptoms. The majority of people with MS have relapsing-remitting symptoms. They have relapses or periods of new symptoms that last days or weeks and then recover partly or fully.

SucceedingAfter these recurrences, the quiet period of disease remission may last for months or even years. Small rises in body temperature may exacerbate MS symptoms for a short time, but they aren’t genuine disease relapses. Within 10 to 20 years of illness start, at least half of people with relapsing-remitting MS have a continuous progression of symptoms, with or without periods of remission. Secondary-progressive MS is the name for this kind of MS.

Main Differences Between ALS and MS

  1. ALS is most common in males, whereas MS is common in females.
  2. In ALS, the target is the central nervous system and brain, whereas, in MS, the target is the spinal cord and the brain.
  3. Patients have greater physical difficulties and issues in ALS, whereas patients with MS have greater mental issues and challenges than those with ALS.
  4. ALS disease is most often identified in people between the ages of 40 and 70, whereas MS disease is most often identified in people between the ages of 20 and 50.
  5. Patients who are in the late stages of ALS illness are often paralyzed, whereas a person in the late stages of MS may have movement issues, although they are unlikely to become totally disabled.


Generally speaking, the prognosis of MS is significantly better than that of ALS. People with MS may have a fairly normal life span, although they are about six to seven years shorter than those without the disease. MS patients’ prognosis may vary from excellent to bad depending on their response to therapy and the existence of comorbidities.

On the other hand, people with ALS have a life expectancy of only 2 to 5 years after diagnosis, but about 20% of confirmed patients survive longer. Because nerve cells are the targets of ALS, it develops more quickly than MS, and the prognosis is at best fair to poor. ALS is a painless, fast, and constant deteriorating start. The most common sign is progressive muscle weakness. In ALS, problems with cognitive processes or the five senses are less common.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003267017305573
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-015-9042-2
2D vs 3D