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Diagnostic Tests for Muscle weakness

Diagnostic Test list for Muscle weakness:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Muscle weakness includes:

  • General appearance
    • Inspect gait
    • Looking for bruising, deformity of arm or leg, swelling of the arm or leg, abnormal posture of body
    • General inspection of the entire body musculature with the person undressed. Compare one side with the other for wasting and try to work out which muscle groups are involved (proximal, distal or generalized, symmetrical or asymmetrical). Muscle wasting may indicate a primary muscle disease, wasting due to disuse or disease of the nerve supplying the muscle
  • Physical examination
    • Blood pressure and pulse to detect risk factors for stroke. Blood pressure is increased in Conn's syndrome and Cushing's syndrome which may both cause muscle weakness
    • Listen for carotid bruits which can indicate narrowing of arteries to brain and thus an increased risk of stroke
    • Examination of cranial nerves ( if abnormalities found would suggest a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease , a mass in the brain or multiple sclerosis
    • May be necessary to examine a variety of joints including the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, small joints of the hand, lumbosacral spine, hips, knees, ankles and the various joints of the foot
    • Test muscle tone, power, reflexes and co-ordination of upper and lower limbs
    • If muscular tone is reduced this suggests a lower motor neurone lesion such as a lesion of the spinal motor nerves or peripheral nerves
    • If reflexes are decreased or absent this suggests a breach in any part of the motor nerve pathway responsible for muscular contraction and may include peripheral neuropathy, poliomyelitis, spinal muscular atrophy, myasthenia gravis, peripheral vascular disease, sympathetic dystrophy, herniated disc, early spinal cord tumor and peroneal muscular atrophy
    • If reflexes are increased this may suggest multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tumors, syringomyelia and motor neurone disease
    • Test sensation of upper and lower limbs ( including pain , touch , temperature and vibration sensation). If there are sensory changes this may suggest peripheral neuropathy, Guillain- Barre syndrome, Friedrich's ataxia, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, a herniated disc, spinal cord tumor, peroneal muscular atrophy and syringomyelia
    • Examine each nerve of the limb involved
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count, platelets, ESR
    • Electrolytes
    • Blood sugar to detect diabetes which can cause peripheral neuropathy, peripheral nerve lesions, increased risk of strokes
    • Thyroid function test (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism may have muscle weakness)
    • Lipid profile looking for high cholesterol which can increase risk of strokes
    • Clotting screen is indicated if thrombotic stroke in young person or recurrent thrombotic disease to detect antithrombin III deficiency, protein C or S deficiency, lupus anticoagulant
    • Long Dexamethasone suppression test - diagnoses Cushing's syndrome and can differentiate pituitary from adrenal cause of Cushing's syndrome.
  • Urine tests
    • 24 hour Urinary free cortisol measurement
  • Radiology investigations
    • Cervical spine X-Ray
    • Lumbosacral spine X-ray
    • CT Scan or MRI of cervical or lumbosacral spine - can detect nerve root entrapment in the intervertebral foramina of the spine or a disc prolapse.
    • Carotid artery Doppler - to measure flow through arteries to brain.
    • CT Scan Brain to detect stroke , brain mass
  • ECG - to detect atrial fibrillation that may have caused a stroke; can detect a recent heart attack that can predispose to a stroke.
  • Nerve Conduction studies
  • Electromyography - to diagnose entrapment syndromes of peripheral nerve.
  • Tensilon (edrophonium) test - if suspect myasthenia gravis.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Muscle weakness causes:

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.

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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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