Muscle weakness, also known as fatigue, is a direct form of inability to exert force with one’s muscles to the degree expected, given the individual’s general physical fitness. A test of strength is used during diagnoses of a muscular disorder before the etiology can be identified.
This depends on the type of muscle weakness, which can be either true or perceived. True weakness is substantial, while perceived weakness is a sensation of having to put more effort to do the same task.
Muscle weakness could be in the central, neural or peripheral locations of the body. Central muscle weakness would be the overall exhaustion of the body, peripheral weakness is exhaustion of individual muscles and neural weakness is in between the two extremes.
Muscle weakness could be a result of rigorous exercise. Abnormal fatigue, on the other hand, may be caused by barriers or interference with the different stages of muscle contraction.
Typical symptoms of distal muscle weakness are a stumbling or abnormal gait and possible weakness of the hand muscles.
Weakness may result from a variety of conditions -- metabolic, neurological conditions, primary muscular diseases and toxic disorders. Metabolic conditions include Addison’s disease, hyperparathyroidism, low sodium or potassium and thyrotoxicosis. Neurological conditions include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Bell’s palsy, cerebral palsy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, pinched nerve or a stroke. The primary muscular diseases include Becker muscular dystrophy, dermatomyosites, muscular dystrophy or myotonic dystrophy. The toxic conditions include botulism, organophosphate poisoning and paralytic shellfish poisoning. The other conditions include anemia, myasthenia gravis, and poliomyelitis.
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