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Muscle weakness Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Muscle weakness. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you noticed the muscle weakness?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic.

  2. What muscles are affected by the weakness?

    Why: e.g. foot, lower leg, thigh, upper arm, lower arm, facial, back.

  3. Are both sides of the body affected by weakness and is it symmetrical?- helps determine which joints, muscles and /or nerves may be affected e.g. peripheral muscle weakness due to peripheral neuropathy is symmetrical compared with individual nerve or nerve root disease which should be suspected if weakness is asymmetrical or confined to one limb
  4. If there is limb weakness, are the facial muscles also affected by weakness?

    Why: weakness of the muscles of the face associated with weakness of the limbs would suggest a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease, a mass in the brain or spinal cord.

  5. Aggravating factors?

    Why: helps to determine the cause of muscle weakness e.g. muscle power decreases with use in myasthenia gravis.

  6. Recent viral infection?

    Why: may suggest a viral illness itself as the cause of muscle weakness (e.g. influenza) or Guillain- Barre syndrome (symptoms begin 7-10 days after the infective illness).

  7. History of trauma?

    Why: can determine possible cause of muscle weakness.

  8. Exercise history?

    Why: muscle overuse may cause muscle weakness.

  9. Past medical history?

    Why: diabetes and chronic renal failure can cause peripheral neuropathy which may result in muscle weakness ; diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol are risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (stroke) which may result in muscle weakness; pernicious anemia may cause subacute combined degeneration of the cord and muscle weakness.

  10. Dietary history? Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause peripheral neuropathy which may result in muscle weakness
  11. Medications?

    Why: some medications can cause peripheral neuropathy e.g. amiodarone, phenytoin, nitrofurantoin; some medications may increase risk of thrombotic cerebrovascular disease (stroke) e.g. oral contraceptive pill , hormone replacement therapy; some medications can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke e.g. warfarin.

  12. Cigarette smoking?

    Why: is a major risk factor for cerebrovascular disease.

  13. Alcohol history?

    Why: can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.

  14. Family history?

    Why: Stokes, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

  15. Limb pain?

    Why: a painful joint or muscle disease may interfere with assessment of leg or arm power.

  16. Limb paresthesia?

    Why: if there is also paresthesia in the involved extremity this usually suggests neuropathy (disease of the nerves) as a cause. Need to consider peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Friedrich's ataxia, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, a herniated disc, spinal cord tumor, peroneal atrophy and syringomyelia.

  17. Back pain?

    Why: may indicate that the cause of leg weakness originates from disorders of the lumbar spine.

  18. Headaches?

    Why: if associated with limb weakness may suggest cerebrovascular disease or mass in brain.

  19. Symptoms of stroke?

    Why: e.g. difficulty with speaking, difficulty with swallowing, visual field defects, cranial nerve palsies, weakness of the arm and leg on the same side, spasticity of affected limbs.

  20. Symptoms of Diabetes mellitus?

    Why: e.g. frequency of urination, excessive thirst, weight loss, fatigue, increased infections. Diabetes may be complicated by a painful peripheral neuropathy with a glove and stocking pattern numbness or a neuropathy that features predominantly muscle weakness.

  21. Symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome?

    Why: e.g. symptoms begin 7-10 days after an infective illness. It results in muscle paralysis which typically ascends from the lower to the upper limbs. Sensory loss (numbness) is usually minimal. If more severe may have respiratory and facial muscle weakness.

  22. Symptoms of acute lower limb ischemia?

    Why: e.g. sudden severe leg pain, pallor of skin, paresthesia or numbness of lower leg, paralysis or weakness of leg.

  23. Symptoms of spinal canal stenosis?

    Why: e.g. long history of backache; pain initially in the lumbar back area and then radiating distally into buttocks and legs; numbness may be present in groin, medial thigh, big toe or little toe; with continued nerve root compression may get muscle weakness.

  24. Symptoms of dystrophia myotonica?

    Why: e.g. wasting and weakness of the thigh and upper arm muscles, enlargement of male breasts, frontal baldness, shrinkage of the testicles, deterioration in vision.

  25. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

    Why: e.g. paresthesia or "pins and needles" affecting the pulps of the thumb, index , middle and half of the ring finger. These symptoms are usually noticed after, rather than during, rapid use of the hands. There may also be pain, which may radiate up as far as the shoulder, from the inside of the wrist. There may also be muscle wasting and weakness of the hands.

  26. Symptoms of peroneal muscular atrophy (Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease)?

    Why: e.g. wasting and weakness of the muscles below the knee, slow progression over many years, variable loss of sensation in lower legs.

  27. Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis?

    Why: e.g. usually starts with the gradual onset of pain and stiffness of the small joints of the hands and feet. Joint pain is worse on waking, nocturnal pain with disturbed sleep, pain is relieved with activity. Morning and rest stiffness can last for hours. May be associated with weakness, weight loss, malaise and fatigue. There is muscle wasting around the affected joints, particularly the hands.

  28. Symptoms of subacute combined degeneration of the cord?

    Why: e.g. ataxic gait (clumsy slapping down of the feet), weakness of lower limbs, numbness of feet, reduced vision, dementia.

  29. Symptoms of Addison's disease?

    Why: symptoms are often vague but may include e.g. weight loss, loss of appetite, tiredness, weakness, fever, depression, lack of menstrual periods, impotence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, fainting, abdominal pain, constipation, muscle aches, wasting and weakness.

  30. Symptoms of Myasthenia gravis?

    Why: e.g. easy muscle fatigability especially eyelids, neck, shoulders, lower legs and trunk, droopy eyelids, double vision, weak voice.

  31. Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome?

    Why: e.g. weight gain especially central abdominal, change of appearance, moon-like face, thin skin, easy bruising, excessive facial hair growth, acne, muscle weakness, lack of or rare menstrual periods, poor libido, depression, psychosis, insomnia, frequent urination, excessive thirst, growth arrest in children.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Muscle weakness:

The following list of conditions have 'Muscle weakness' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Muscle weakness or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Conditions listing medical complications: Muscle weakness:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Muscle weakness' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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