Individual Weak Muscles

What Causes Muscle Weakness?

Muscle weakness can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose muscle weakness, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "muscle weakness" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Polymyositis
  • Vitamin D Need
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Fluorosis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Neuritis/Neuropathy
  • West Nile Virus

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
major unexplained weight loss
shortness of breath when at rest
loss of sensation
regular unexplained vomiting
poor balance
tender rear neck muscles
very frequent stools
numb/burning/tingling extremities
recent-onset abdominal pain
occassional 'chills'
somewhat disturbed sleep
inability to walk
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of muscle weakness:
Cause Probability Status
Nephrotic Syndrome 94% Confirm
Muscular Dystrophy 26% Unlikely
Polymyositis 27% Unlikely
Fluorosis 2% Ruled out
Vitamin D Need 1% Ruled out
Dermatomyositis 0% Ruled out
West Nile Virus 0% Ruled out
Neuritis/Neuropathy 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having muscle problems / disease, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have specific muscles that feel weak, or weaker than they should be?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ One muscle is slightly weak
→ One muscle very weak / slight weakness in several
→ Serious weakness in several muscles
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no individual weak muscles, specific muscle weakness or severe muscle weakness, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Environmental Illness / MCS

The muscular weakness may be due to a nerve problem caused by chemical exposure and immune system changes associated with MCS.

Fluoride Toxicity

Early warning signs of fluorosis include loss of muscle power, weakness and pain.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

GBS can cause muscles to weaken and atrophy.  Progressive weakening or paralysis may occur, typically beginning in the feet, hands or face.  The paralysis characteristically involves more than one limb, most commonly the legs.  The paralysis is progressive and usually ascending, spreading to the rest of the limb, and from there may spread to the legs, arms and the rest of the body.  The arms may feel weak, the patient no longer being able to lift heavy objects.

Magnesium Toxicity

Magnesium overload can depress the central nervous system, causing muscle weakness, lethargy, sleepiness, hyperexcitability, mental status changes, nausea, appetite loss, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

Multiple Sclerosis

Gait disorders varying from an inability to walk the usual distance to an inability to walk at all are the principal problems of patients with MS.

Neuritis/Neuropathy

Symptoms of neuritis include a weakness in the muscles and a wasting away of muscle tissue.  Without proper nerve stimulation the muscles are no longer healthy and cannot be effective.

Polymyositis

Muscle weakness is the most common symptom of Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis (PM/DM), which are chronic inflammatory diseases of the muscle.

West Nile Virus

True muscle weakness in the presence of other related symptoms is suggestive of West Nile virus infection.