You may feel weak and tired, or your muscles may be sore.
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These sensations usually go away within a few days. In rare cases, generalized muscle weakness may be caused by another health problem, such as:. Sudden muscle weakness and loss of function in one area of the body can indicate a serious problem within the brain such as a stroke or transient ischemic attack or spinal cord or with a specific nerve in the body.
Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, or lack of energy. You may feel mildly fatigued because of overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. Any illness, such as a cold or the flu, may cause fatigue, which usually goes away as the illness clears up. Most of the time, mild fatigue occurs with a health problem that will improve with home treatment and does not require a visit to a doctor.
A stressful emotional situation may also cause fatigue. This type of fatigue usually clears up when the stress is relieved. Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause weakness or fatigue. The use or abuse of alcohol, caffeine, or illegal drugs can cause fatigue. A visit to a doctor usually is needed when fatigue occurs along with more serious symptoms, such as increased breathing problems, signs of a serious illness, abnormal bleeding, or unexplained weight loss or gain. Fatigue that lasts longer than 2 weeks usually requires a visit to a doctor.
This type of fatigue may be caused by a more serious health problem, such as:.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is an uncommon cause of severe, persistent fatigue. If fatigue occurs without an obvious cause, it is important to evaluate your mental health. Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. Fatigue and depression may become so severe that you may consider suicide as a way to end your pain. If you think your fatigue may be caused by a mental health problem, see your doctor.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor. This site requires ActiveX controls and plug-ins to be enabled.
If not already installed, the Free Adobe Flash Plugin is available for download. If you have generalized weakness and fatigue along with other symptoms, evaluate those symptoms. Home treatment for your other symptoms usually will improve your weakness and fatigue. Mild generalized weakness and fatigue that occur with a viral illness usually improve with the following home treatment measures. If generalized weakness and fatigue are not related to another illness, follow the guidelines in the Prevention section and be patient.
It may take a while for you to feel energetic again. Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:. To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment. You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:.
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Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. Spinal Cord Anatomy. Topic Overview Weakness and fatigue are terms that are often used as if they mean the same thing. Weakness is a lack of physical or muscle strength and the feeling that extra effort is required to move your arms, legs, or other muscles.
If muscle weakness is the result of pain, the person may be able to make muscles work, but it will hurt. Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion or a need to rest because of lack of energy or strength. Fatigue may result from overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. It is a symptom that may be caused by illness, medicine, or medical treatment such as chemotherapy.
Anxiety or depression can also cause fatigue.
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Weakness General weakness often occurs after you have done too much activity at one time, such as by taking an extra-long hike. In rare cases, generalized muscle weakness may be caused by another health problem, such as: A problem with the minerals electrolytes found naturally in the body, such as low levels of potassium or sodium. Infections, such as a urinary tract infection or a respiratory infection. Problems with the thyroid gland, which regulates the way the body uses energy.
A low thyroid level hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, weakness, lethargy, weight gain, depression, memory problems, constipation, dry skin, intolerance to cold, coarse and thinning hair, brittle nails, or a yellowish tint to the skin. A high thyroid level hyperthyroidism can cause fatigue, weight loss, increased heart rate, intolerance to heat, sweating, irritability, anxiety, muscle weakness, and thyroid enlargement.
Myasthenia gravis , a rare, chronic disorder that causes weakness and rapid muscle fatigue. Muscle weakness that is slowly getting worse requires a visit to a doctor. Fatigue Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, or lack of energy.
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This type of fatigue may be caused by a more serious health problem, such as: A decrease in the amount of oxygen-carrying substance hemoglobin found in red blood cells anemia. Problems with the heart, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure , that limit the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle or the rest of the body. Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes , in which sugar glucose remains in the blood rather than entering the body's cells to be used for energy. Kidney disease and liver disease, which cause fatigue when the concentration of certain chemicals in the blood builds up to toxic levels.
Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition. Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep. How long does angina last?
Heart attacks generally last more than 30 minutes. What brings on angina? A heart attack is caused by a lack of oxygen to the heart causing damage to the heart muscle. What do you do if angina lasts longer than a few minutes? The two most common types of angina are stable and unstable.
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Stable angina angina pectoris can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.