Muscle weakness: Introduction
Muscle weakness is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Muscle weakness can result from infection, trauma, malignancy, autoimmune diseases, and other abnormal processes.
Muscle weakness can occur in any age group or population and can affect the whole body or only a portion of the body. Temporary muscle weakness can result from a relatively mild condition, such as remaining sedentary for a short period of time. Muscle weakness can be the result of a moderate traumatic condition, disorder or disease, such as strained muscle or torn muscle. Muscle weakness can also accompany serious conditions that can even be life-threatening. These include severe dehydration, spinal cord injury, stroke.
Muscle weakness can occur suddenly and severely, such as that which happens with a torn muscle or Bell's palsy. Muscle weakness can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when muscle weakness is due to the complications of stroke or cerebral palsy.
Muscle weakness can be the result of a neurologic diseases, disorders or conditions, which affect the nervous system. These include cerebral palsy, prolapsed disc in the back, stroke, Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects nerve function and results in muscle weakness.
Muscle weakness can be the result of a muscular diseases, disorders or conditions, which affect the ability of the muscles to move. These include muscular dystrophy and myotonic dystrophy.
Metabolic diseases can also cause muscle weakness. These include electrolyte imbalance, Addison's disease and hyperparathyroidism.
Muscle weakness can also be caused by dehydration, bed rest, muscle trauma, anemia, malnutrition, and some viral infections and bacterial infections, such as viral poliomyelitis and bacterial or viral food poisoning.
Muscle weakness often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other symptoms can include pain or paresthesia, fever, and flu-like symptoms. Complications of muscle weakness include muscle atrophy and contractures. Other complications vary depending on the underlying cause. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of muscle weakness.
Diagnosing muscle weakness and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination and a through neurological exam. This includes a thorough assessment of the muscle weakness by asking about a variety of factors. These include when, how often and how long the weakness has been experienced. Other questions include what part of the body is involved and factors that seem to make the weakness worse and make it better. Questions are also asked about how severe the muscle weakness is, how it impacts daily life and any accompanying symptoms.
Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of tests to help to diagnose potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders. Tests can include blood tests, lumbar puncture, urinalysis, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, and MRI.
Tests may also include an electromyography (EMG) which tests the electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction test may also be ordered to measure the ability of nerves to send electrical signals. These tests can help to diagnose nerve entrapment or a pinched nerve.
A diagnosis of muscle weakness and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because muscle weakness may be mild and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of muscle weakness.
Treatment of muscle weakness involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of muscle weakness. ...more »
Muscle weakness: A condition which is characterized by an inability of the muscles to function at their full strenght.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Muscle weakness is available below.
Muscle weakness: Symptoms
Symptoms that accompany muscle weakness vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, paresthesia, weight loss and change in level of consciousness. Other accompanying symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, slurred speech, paralysis and changes in vision. Muscle weakness may also occur without other ...more symptoms »
Muscle weakness: Treatments
Treatment plans for muscle weakness are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, the severity of muscle weakness and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, helps to build strength, decreases the risk of developing ...more treatments »
Muscle weakness: Misdiagnosis
Diagnosing muscle weakness and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, muscle weakness may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. Muscle weakness may also progress slowly or occur intermittently, also delaying a diagnosis. A diagnosis may also be delayed because a person may assume that muscle weakness is a normal part of ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Muscle weakness
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Treatments for Muscle weakness
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Muscle weakness: Deaths
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Muscle weakness: Complications
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Causes of Muscle weakness
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causes of Muscle weakness
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Disease Topics Related To Muscle weakness
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Muscle weakness: Undiagnosed Conditions
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Misdiagnosis and Muscle weakness
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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Muscle weakness
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Clinical Trials for Muscle weakness
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Muscle weakness: Broader Related Topics
Types of Muscle weakness
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Definitions of Muscle weakness:
A vague complaint of debility, fatigue, or exhaustion attributable to weakness of various muscles. The weakness can be characterized as subacute or chronic, often progressive, and is a manifestation of many muscle and neuromuscular diseases. (From Wyngaarden et al., Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p2251)
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