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Home :: Muscle Weakness

Muscle Weakness ( Hypotonia )

Muscle weakness (or "lack of strength") is the inability to exert force with ones muscles to the degree that would be expected given the individual's general physical fitness . A test of strength is often used during a diagnosis of a muscular disorder before the etiology can be identified.


Hypotonia can be caused by a variety of conditions including those that involve the central nervous system, muscle disorders and genetic disorders. Some common causes can include but are not limited to Down syndrome, Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy , Prader-Willi Syndrome, Myotonic dystrophy, Marfan syndrome and Tay-Sachs disease.

Some hypotonias are not progressive and are of an unknown origin. Central nervous system function and intelligence in children with this kind of hypotonia, benign congenital hypotonia, is normal. Children with benign congenital hypotonia may not experience developmental delay, although some children acquire gross motor skills (sitting, walking, running, jumping) more slowly than most.

Signs and symptoms

  • Unaccustomed exercise.
  • Symptoms that appear following a period of rest after the exercise, an hour or 2 later or the next day. Frequently a high-carbohydrate meal after competition or vigorous physical exercise, followed by a night's sleep. The muscle weakness then appears the next day.
  • Weakness that begins in the legs and progresses to the arms or other muscles in the body. Disabling fatigue accompanies the muscle weakness.


  • Blood studies (sometimes) to measure potassium levels.
  • Electromyography.


Medical Treatment- Must be individualized according to the underlying disorder.

Medication- Your doctor may prescribe potassium supplements for muscle weakness.

Home Treatment

  • Replace lost potassium with supplements or increase high-potassium foods in the diet.
  • Replace fluid loss with water instead of soft drinks.
  • After vigorous exercise, avoid a high carbohydrate meal.
  • Prevent potassium loss, increase fluid intake and adjust exercise programs and medication dosages during hot weather.
  • Avoid the combination of diuretic medications, Alcohol and heavy exercise during exceptionally hot weather. This combination can be lethal,causing strokes and life-threatening episodes of irregular heart rhythms.
  • Increase polassium-rich foods in your diet.
  • Take potassium Supplements (with a doctor's prescription) prior to vigorous exercise if you have had an exercise-induced muscle weakness in the past.
  • Modify activity level to one below that which triggers attacks.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.