An In-Depth Guide to Muscle Weakness: Everything You Need to Know

An In-Depth Guide to Muscle Weakness: Everything You Need to Know

Muscle weakness can sneak up on you, and daily tasks may suddenly seem like an uphill task. Muscle weakness most often than not appears, gradually robbing your energy with each passing day.

As you would have guessed by now, muscle weakness affects your overall health. It will hurt your posture, put more pressure on your joints, slow your metabolism, and limit your mobility.

Before we look at muscle weakness treatment, let’s peer into what muscle weakness is all about.

Understanding Muscle Weakness

It is known as myasthenia, which is described as the decline of strength in one or several muscles. Muscle weakness is commonly experienced in patients who are suffering from neurological, muscular, and metabolic disorders.

In some cases, muscle weakness does not happen gradually, but suddenly. It can occur on one side of the body and accompanied by severe abdominal pain. This might be a sign of botulism. If the following symptoms accompany the sudden weakness seek immediate medical attention:

  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Trouble walking
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness

Why Are Your Muscles Weak?

Sarcopenia (a weakness that comes with aging) happens to all of us. The process of losing muscle fiber actually starts a lot earlier than we think. It begins in our thirties and forties and begins to show when we hit our sixties and seventies.

Other than aging, here are the different causes of general muscle weakness, including muscle weakness in legs and hips:

Metabolic Causes:

  • Hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid glands)
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium)
  • Low sodium (hyponatremia)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid glands)
  • Addison’s disease (reduced production of hormones by the adrenal glands

Neurological Causes:

  • Bell’s palsy (the inflamed or swollen nerve that controls the facial muscles)
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (autoimmune nerve disorder)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Cerebral palsy

Muscular Disease Causes

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Dermatomyositis (muscle inflammation )
  • Muscular dystrophy (a disorder that causes progressive loss of muscle tissue)

Toxic Causes

  • Insecticide ingestion
  • Paralytic shellfish poisoning
  • Nerve gas exposure
  • Botulism (severe food poisoning that is caused by Clostridium botulinum)

Other Causes:

  • Anemia
  • Overuse injury
  • Polymyositis
  • Inactivity
  • Medication side effects

Symptoms

Other symptoms may accompany muscle weakness in legs and hips, and they may vary depending on the underlying disease or condition. At the same time, the symptoms that affect your muscles may change your other body systems.

Muscular Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Twitching
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Burning sensation
  • Recurring episodes of falling
  • Pins-and-needles sensation
  • Other Symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting or lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Headaches

What Are the Complications of Muscle Weakness?

Most of the time, muscle loss happens because of a severe underlying condition, and failure to treat the disease can lead to severe complications. Once the diagnosis of the underlying cause is known, it is best to follow the treatment plan. If not, the possible complications are as follows:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of mobility
  • Spread of infection
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Permanent loss of sensation

Diagnosis

When you get to our facility, our doctor will ask you about how long you have experienced the symptoms and which muscles are affected. You will be asked if you experience any other symptoms.

Other than that, our doctor will check your muscle tone, senses, and reflexes. If necessary, the following tests will be done:

  • CT scans or MRI to see your inner structures
  • Nerve tests
  • Blood tests to check for infections
  • Electromyography (EMG)

Treatment

Once we have determined the exact cause of your muscle weakness, then a plan can be created. Your treatment for muscle weakness in legs or other muscles will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the symptoms.

Here are some of the treatments available:

  • Occupational Therapy. Our therapists will recommend specific exercises that can be done to strengthen your upper body. You might be given assistive devices to help you carry out your daily activities.
  • Physical Therapy. Our therapists can also recommend certain exercises to help you if you have conditions such as ALS or MS.
  • Dietary changes. The change in diet might help bring about electrolyte balance. Taking supplements such as potassium oxide and calcium will also help.
  • Surgery. It is done to treat specific conditions such as hyperthyroidism or herniated disc.
  • Medication. Our doctor may prescribe certain medications to help manage the pain.

Remember, there is no usual explanation for muscle weakness, so if you know you have experienced some of the symptoms, contact our doctor in Altus Emergency Center in Waxahachie and book an appointment.

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