By Medicover Hospitals / 12 Jan 2021
The sense of body exhaustion or tiredness is Asthenia, also referred to as weakness. A person who suffers from weakness may not properly move a certain part of their body. The lack of energy to move certain muscles or even all the muscles of the body is best described as Asthenia. An individual suffering from weakness may not correctly move a certain part of their body.
- What is weakness?
- When to visit a Doctor?
What is weakness?
Weakness is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion or of experiencing a loss of strength. An evident or apparent disease can not always follow weakness. Due to overwork, stress, or lack of sleep, short-term weakness may occur. The medical term of weakness is asthenia.
Weakness can occur throughout your body or in a specific area, such as your arms or legs. The weakness can localize to a single muscle, such as a calf muscle in the leg.
Weakness can also occur due to physical illnesses or toxic disorders. Long-term (chronic) conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or an underactive thyroid, can cause weakness. Short-term (acute) conditions, such as a pinched nerve or urinary tract infection, can also cause weakness.
Asthenia can affect the body and mind. Based on this, it can be classified into two categories:
It refers to the inability of the muscles of the body to perform activities that require some physical effort such as running, swimming, cycling, climbing stairs, jogging, and doing physical exercise. It’s because of extreme physical exertion over a considerable time, or because of the natural degeneration of muscles with age. Both conditions cause a feeling of physical exhaustion.
It is defined as the strong decrease in cognitive activities such as learning, judgment, or decision-making. It results from extreme stress on the cognitive center of the brain that leads to a reduction in neural activities for a short time. Mental weakness can also occur due to age, a brain tumor, or experiencing emotional trauma in the past.
Three other types of weakness have also recently identified. These are given below:
- Central: It is characterized by a reduction of the neural impulse or the motor activities based on the nerves.
- Neuromuscular: Here, the nerve does not stimulate a muscle.
- Peripheral muscle: The body cannot supply the additional energy required by the contracting muscles.
Common causes of weakness include:
Other causes of weakness include:
- Thyroid disease
- Depression or anxiety
- Lack of sleep
- Mismanaged or undiagnosed diabetes
- Congestive heart failure
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Side effects of medications, which often occur when taking mild tranquilizers to treat anxiety
- Certain muscle diseases
While weakness caused by cancer can appear slowly over a long time, weakness caused by a heart attack or stroke often occurs immediately. Besides experiencing weakness, other signs such as shortness of breath, pain, and an irregular heartbeat may appear.
- Heart attack
- Nerve or muscle injuries
- Diseases that affect the nerves or muscles
- Drug overdose
- Vitamin overdose
There are many treatment options for weakness. Determining the root cause helps to assess the treatment option for your doctor. When you visit your doctor, they will go over your signs. When you had signs, they will ask you. This will help your doctor understand more about what could cause you to feel weak. Your doctor might ask you to give a urine sample. They can also request a blood sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. The lab will test these samples for signs of infection and medical conditions that can cause weakness.
If a person experiences localized weakness, a doctor can also perform a detailed physical examination of the affected body part. After conducting the initial evaluation, the doctor can have a better idea of the cause of asthenia or weakness.
They can follow up with one or more diagnostic tests, including:
- Blood tests to check for hormonal imbalances or signs of infection
- Urinalysis for signs of infection and disease
- One or more of the following medical imaging tests to look for causes of bone, nerve, or muscle damage within the affected body part:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
A person's form of treatment will depend on the cause of their asthenia or weakness.
Sometimes, asthenia may disappear after treatment for an acute illness. For instance, after a person finishes a course of antibiotics, asthenia that develops from a bacterial infection should go away.
Chronic medical conditions:
Sometimes, asthenia can be because of a more chronic medical condition. To treat asthenia, a doctor will need to diagnose and manage the underlying condition. Some chronic conditions will require long-term treatment. For instance, after a person completes the course of antibiotics, asthenia that develops from a bacterial infection should go away.
Drug side effects:
Some people may experience asthenia or weakness as a side effect of a particular drug. A doctor may recommend reducing the dose of the drug or switching to an alternative. However, a person should never adjust the dose of their medication or stop taking a medication unless their doctor has told them it is safe to do so.
When to visit a Doctor?
Some types of asthenia or weakness are spread on their own. However, people who experience frequent or persistent episodes of asthenia should see a doctor. They may have an underlying medical disorder that needs treatment.
A person should seek emergency medical attention for signs of asthenia that occur along with signs of a heart attack or stroke. If you experience a sudden onset of weakness on one side of the body or face, weakness with shortness of breath or palpitations, or weakness with loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, back pain, or abdominal pain. If you have discomfort along with other signs, such as abdominal pain or cramps, fever, and chills, foul-smelling urine, or feeling ill.
It is not always possible to prevent asthenia. However, leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of chronic diseases that can cause asthenia.
Some steps a person can take to reduce their risk of developing asthenia include:
- quit smoking
- avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- eat healthily
- exercise regularly
- lose weight if necessary
- take steps to reduce stress levels
- get enough sleep
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Antidepressants are given to treat long-term weakness related to depression.
- Cognitive-behavioral treatment has also been found to be effective.
Asthenia is a common symptom of several conditions, including nutrient imbalances such as vitamin B-12 deficiency. Trouble sleeping, such as sleep apnea. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Deal with emotional problems instead of ignoring or denying them.
- Take steps to manage your stress and workload.
If you suddenly feel weak, shaky, or dizzy, or even if you pass out, you could be experiencing hypoglycemia. A headache that comes on quickly, weakness or shaking in your arms or legs, and a slight shaking in your body are also signs that your blood sugar is too low.
Weakness - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0012369215316287
Weakness of the will - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-014-9416-3
Weakness in Patients With Hemiparesis - https://ajot.aota.org/article.aspx?articleid=1880100