Weakness

Definition

Weakness is reduced strength in one or more muscles.

Causes

Weakness may be all over the body or in only one area. Weakness is more noticeable when it is in one area. Weakness in one area may occur:

You may feel weak but have no real loss of strength. This is called subjective weakness. It may be due to an infection such as mononucleosis or the flu. Or, you may have a loss of strength that can be noted on a physical exam. This is called objective weakness.

Weakness may be caused diseases or conditions affecting many different body systems. Causes may include:

Weakness may be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

METABOLIC

BRAIN/NERVOUS SYSTEM (NEUROLOGIC)

MUSCLE DISEASES

POISONING

OTHER

Home Care

Follow the therapy your health care provider recommends to treat the cause of the weakness.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will do a physical exam. Your provider will also ask you questions such as:

The health care provider may pay close attention to your heart, lungs, and thyroid gland. The exam will focus on the nerves and muscles if the weakness is only in one area.

You may have the following tests:


Review Date: 9/21/2013
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.