Difference Between ALS and PLS (With Table)

Motor neuron diseases are a group of neurological ailments that affect the brain and nerves of a person. They may affect both the upper and lower neurons, and they can linger for years at a time. ALS and PLS are two motor neuron disorders that share similar features. The two of them do, however, have specific variances in their personalities.


The main difference between ALS and PLS is that both diseases advance at different rates in those diagnosed with them. Patients with ALS typically survive for three to five years, but PLS patients may anticipate an average life expectancy. In contrast to ALS, PLS is not always lethal.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This disorder impacts a person’s neurological system. When diagnosed with ALS, a patient has muscular weakening and decreased physical capability. However, the condition is uncommon since it affects fewer than 1000 individuals every year on average.

PLS is an illness that has a substantially lower mortality rate. It creates a breakdown in the brain’s nerve cells, which govern all body motions. As a result, the patients have limited voluntary muscular movement, yet they can live everyday life.

Comparison Table Between ALS and PLS

Parameters of ComparisonALSPLS
ProgressionPatients with ALS experience rapid progression of the disease.PLS advances at a glacial pace in persons with the condition.
LifespanA person who has been diagnosed with cancer is anticipated to survive for 3-5 years.A cancer patient often goes about their daily routine.
Motor NeuronALS affects both the upper nerve impulse and the lower motor nerves in the same way.In most cases, PLs affect the lower nerve cell of a patient.
Muscle WastingMuscle atrophy is a side effect of ALS.Muscle wasting is not a side effect of PLS.
Bulbar SymptomsPatients who have ALS are more likely to have bulging symptoms.Patients suffering from PLS are less likely to have bulging symptoms.

What is ALS?

ALS affects both the brain and the spinal cord and the nerve cells that transmit signals between them. Muscle control is compromised as a result of this. This indicates that the patient seems unable to regulate the motions of their limbs. In most cases, people with ALS may expect to survive for 3 – 5 years after their first diagnosis.

The illness was given its name in honor of a well-known baseball star diagnosed with it. Despite this, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) is still unclear, while some instances have been identified as inherited. In the early stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular twitching and weakening of the limbs are experienced by the individual suffering from the disease. In addition, some individuals may have slurred speech due to their condition.

Aside from these, additional symptoms that may develop include difficulty walking or performing other tasks; weakness in the legs; tripping and falling; clumsiness; weakness in the hands; problems swallowing; muscular cramps; mood swings; and even behavioral abnormalities. In addition, it is common to strike initially in the limbs and then progress to other body regions.

What is PLS?

An illness of the neurological system with symptoms comparable to ALS is PLS, often known as primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). On the other hand, PLS differs from ALS in that it mainly affects the higher motor neurons of a person. This results in the loss of nerve cells, resulting in the patient’s inability to regulate their movements anymore. In addition, disease-induced muscular atrophy affects voluntarily controlled muscles such as those in the limbs, wrists, and mouth.

Furthermore, men are more prone than females to be affected by the condition. It first manifests in a person’s limbs and then progressively spreads to other body regions over time. Because of the sluggish advancement, a patient may expect to have a typical lifetime.

The reasons for PLS remain unclear, as is the existence of a remedy. On the other hand, medical professionals are constantly attempting to control PLS signs via the use of different therapies and medications. Acute phase syndrome (PLS) is characterized by stiffness and weakness in the legs and difficulties maintaining balance.

Other symptoms include slurred speech, slurred speech, and even difficulty swallowing. Later, the patient will have bladder control issues and discomfort in the lower neck and shoulder.

Main Differences Between ALS and PLS

  1. Individuals with ALS make quick progress, whereas those suffering from PLS make delayed development.
  2. A patient with ALS is predicted to survive for approximately 3-5 years, but a patient with PLS is likely to live for a typical amount of time.
  3. When it comes to motor neurons, ALS impacts both the motor and nonmotor neurons, but PLS affects just the upper nerve impulse.
  4. Muscle wasting is a symptom of ALS, although PLS is not.
  5. Bulbar symptoms are pretty prevalent in ALS patients, but PLS patients seldom experience them.
  6. ALS may result in respiratory failure and pneumonia, but PLS may not result in these conditions.
  7. Autoimmune illnesses are widespread in ALS patients; however, they are less prevalent among people with Parkinson’s disease (PLS).


ALS and PLS are two illnesses that affect a person’s nervous system in a very similar way. Both lead to a loss of control over muscular movements, extending from the legs to other body sections if left untreated. As a result, many medical professionals believe that they are various manifestations of the same illness. The pace at which they advance, on the other hand, is a significant distinction between them.

ALS advances rapidly in a patient’s body, and the patient is likely to survive for approximately 3 to 5 years after diagnosis. However, PLS proceeds considerably slower than other forms of dementia, enabling a person to enjoy a relatively average lifetime. Patients with PLS, on the other hand, may only survive for up to 20 years in certain situations.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hbm.20527
  2. https://n.neurology.org/content/72/22/1948.short