General Illness Information
Common Name: Muscle Weakness
Medical Term: Myasthenia
Description: Muscle weakness (myasthenia) is a pathological process of an autoimmune nature, which reduces the contractile ability of muscles. This disease can develop as a result of damage to the anatomical components of the extremities (vessels, bones, articular surfaces, nerves). Muscle weakness can develop both in the arms and legs.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Decreased muscle strength. Measurement can be made both with the help of a special tool – a dynamometer, and the hands of the examining physician. To assess muscle strength without a tool, the doctor simultaneously presses two hands on the patient, while evaluating the symmetry of muscle tension;
- Difficulty in performing routine tasks (walking, climbing stairs, holding a mug in hands, writing a pen, carrying packets of medium gravity);
Blepharoptosis (omission of the eyelid), impaired swallowing, speech, or chewing.
- Neurological (stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and brain, meningitis, poliomyelitis, encephalitis, autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre);
- Deficiency of physical activity (muscle atrophy due to lack of mobility);
- Harmful habits (smoking, alcohol, cocaine and other psychoactive substances);
- Pregnancy (lack of iron (Fe), increased physical activity, high hormonal levels);
- Old age (weakening of muscles as a result of age changes);
- Injuries (damage to muscle tissue, stretching and dislocation);
- Drugs (some drugs or their overdose can cause muscle weakness – antibiotics, anesthetics, oral steroids, interferon and others);
- Intoxication (poisoning of the body with narcotic and other harmful substances);
- Oncology (malignant and benign tumors);
- Infections (tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis, complicated form of influenza, hepatitis C, Lyme disease, glandular fever, poliomyelitis and malaria);
- Cardiovascular diseases (failure to provide the muscles with the required amount of blood);
- Endocrine pathologies (diabetes mellitus, disruptions in the thyroid gland, violation of electrolyte metabolism);
- Problems with the spine (curvature, osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia);
- Genetic diseases (myasthenia gravis, myotonic dystrophy and muscular dystrophy);
- Lesion of the sciatic or femoral nerve (muscle weakness in only one limb);
- Chronic lung diseases (COPD, lack of oxygen) and kidneys (salt imbalance, release of toxins into the blood, lack of vitamin D and calcium (Ca).
Patients suffering from muscle weakness should determine the cause of this condition. The disease should be identified at an early stage, then the therapy will be more successful, and the predictions – optimistic.
Typically, doctors perform the following studies:
- General blood analysis;
- Blood chemistry;
- Analysis of urine;
- Muscle biopsies;
- CT and MRI;
- Study of the level of CK in the blood;
- Analysis of the rate of the nervous reaction;
- Examination of cerebrospinal fluid;
- Oncological examination.
To identify the disease and diagnose, it is necessary to consult a therapist and a neurologist.
- Adhere to proper nutrition (including in the diet rich in protein and calcium products, cereals, vegetables, herbs, honey, vitamins) and lifestyle;
- Devote enough time to work, rest and sports;
- Monitor blood pressure;
- Avoid stress and excessive fatigue;
- Be in the fresh air;
- Refuse from addictions;
- Consult a doctor if serious problems occur.
If muscle weakness is caused by overwork, it is enough to let the limbs rest after a load or a long walk (especially in uncomfortable shoes). In other cases, appropriate therapy may be prescribed:
- the development of muscles by performing special exercises;
- medicines to improve cerebral activity and circulation;
- natural supplements for muscle strength enhancement;
- drugs that remove toxins from the body;
- antibacterial agents for infections in the spinal cord or brain;
- increased neuromuscular activity by means of special drugs;
- liquidation of poisoning consequences;
- surgical intervention aimed at removing tumors, ulcers and bruises.
- deterioration of coordination;
- slow metabolism;
- decreased immunity (susceptibility to viral diseases);
- problems with the heart muscle (tachycardia, bradycardia and hypotension);
- swelling of the extremities;
- excess weight.