Muscle weakness is often the symptom of a number of medical conditions that are known to cause muscle loss, nerve damage, and low energy levels that affect muscular strength. Some medical conditions that cause muscle weakness can be treated to help patients regain their strength while others have no known cure. You may notice a decrease in muscular strength if you suffer from any of these five medical conditions.
Anemia develops when the body doesn’t produce enough healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to organs and tissues in the body. When the muscles aren’t able to receive enough of these nutrients, muscle weakness usually occurs. Anemia is often the result of a lack of iron in a person’s diet, infections, or other medical conditions, such as Cron’s disease, kidney disease, or certain inflammatory diseases. Sickle cell anemia is a type of inherited anemia that’s known to affect certain people of African descent.
If your anemia is linked to iron deficiency, you can likely reverse the condition by simply eating more iron-rich foods, such as beef, tuna, and lentils. Medications and blood transfusions may be needed to treat different types of anemia that develop from other medical conditions.
2. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This condition has no known cause but often results in muscle weakness, extreme tiredness, and depression. You may also experience widespread pain throughout your body and develop abnormal sleep patterns if you have chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition usually affects people who are between the ages of 40 and 60.
Doctors often have difficulty diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome because of the lack of a definite cause and the different effects it can have on people. There is no standard treatment for the condition, but changes in sleeping habits and other lifestyle modifications can sometimes alleviate symptoms.
Also known as an irregular heartbeat, an arrhythmia can cause muscle weakness if the heart can’t pump enough blood to deliver sufficient oxygen to organs and tissues because of the disruption in the heart’s rhythm. An arrhythmia can cause your heart to beat too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia). The irregular heartbeats may be constant or only occur at certain times. If left untreated, some arrhythmias can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke.
Medications, such as calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and blood thinners, are often prescribed to treat arrhythmia or at least reduce some of the harmful effects of an irregular heartbeat. A doctor may also recommend wearing a pacemaker to monitor and correct irregular heartbeats as they occur.
4. A Stroke
A stroke is a medical emergency that is classified as a disruption of blood supply to the brain. The blood flow disruption could happen because a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked or bursts. A stroke may result in disability or even death. Some patients also develop a type of muscle weakness on one side of the body known as hemiparesis.
Treatment for a stroke is usually administered in an emergency room and may even begin on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. Medication may be given to dissolve potentially harmful blood clots, and surgery might also be needed to stop bleeding or remove blood clots. Rehabilitative care is sometimes needed after surgery to help restore certain body functions.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
Commonly referred to as MS, this disease attacks the central nervous system and causes weakness in the body as a result. The myelin that encapsulates the nerve fibers to protect them wears away because of MS, and this can interfere with many body functions and may even make walking impossible. The disease may go into remission and relapse later.
MS currently doesn’t have a cure, but treatment can sometimes alleviate symptoms and slow the disease’s progression. Oral or intravenous corticosteroids are sometimes given to reduce the inflammation that interferes with nerve functioning. Flareups from MS may also be reduced with plasma exchange therapy. Additional oral medications and infusion treatments might also be prescribed to ease MS symptoms.
Muscle weakness could be a sign of a more serious medical condition and shouldn’t be ignored if you start to feel weaker with no reasonable explanation. A doctor can run tests to try to diagnose your specific cause of muscle weakness and recommend any treatments or rehabilitative care you might need to start living a more active life again.