When To See Your Doctor
If your shortness of breath is accompanied by fever, chest pain, tightness in the throat, and wheezing, then you could be experiencing angina or a heart attack. These combinations of symptoms require immediate attention.
In general, if you are experiencing shortness of breath for no obvious reason like exercise, or it is on-going and frequent, speak with your doctor right away. Uncovering and treating the underlying cause will be the only way to correct the shortness of breath.
In This Article
What Is Shortness Of Breath
Breathing is a vital bodily function that ensures every cell you have has enough oxygen to survive and that toxic carbon dioxide is removed. Effective breathing requires healthy lungs to perform gas exchange, as well as the functional activity of a number of different muscle groups that enable air to be drawn into and expelled from the lungs. This process largely occurs passively but can also be consciously controlled. Any problem with this process can cause shortness of breath which be the sign of a serious problem and may require immediate medical attention.
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What Is Arm Weakness
Arm weakness refers to a loss of strength in the arm and the inability to move an arm because of decreased muscle strength. It can happen spontaneously or progress slowly over time. Weakness in the arm may occur on one or both sides of the body, may accompany weakness in other parts of the body, and may occur with a variety other symptoms, including . If you have arm weakness, you may have difficulty simply moving the affected arm, or you may have difficulty performing daily tasks.
In some cases, may help to improve arm strength. If arm weakness occurs with pain, pain medication may assist in resolving both symptoms. Optimal treatment for arm weakness is dependent on the underlying cause of the weakness.
Usual causes of arm weakness include injury to, or infection of, the arm muscle wasting, such as from certain muscular disorders or from lack of use nerve damage or compression at the vertebral column or certain hereditary conditions. Stroke is a serious and potentially life-threatening cause of sudden arm weakness that appears on one side of the body a true medical emergency. Temporary arm may be caused by a general infection, such as the .
If your arm weakness is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.
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Using The Brain To Move A Muscle
Also, the amount of muscle tissue must be normal, and the tissue must be able to contract in response to the signal from the nerves. Therefore, true weakness results only when one or more part of this pathwaybrain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, or the connections between themis damaged or diseased.
Weakness may develop suddenly or gradually. Weakness may affect all of the muscles in the body or only one part of the body. For example, depending on where the spinal cord is damaged, spinal cord disorders may cause weakness only of the legs.
Symptoms depend on which muscles are affected. For example, when weakness affects muscles of the chest, people may have difficulty breathing. When weakness affects muscles that control the eyes, people may have double vision.
Complete muscle weakness causes paralysis. People may have other symptoms depending on what is causing the weakness. Weakness is often accompanied by abnormalities in sensation, such as tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, and numbness.
Essentials For Older People: Weakness
As people age, the amount of muscle tissue and muscle strength tend to decrease. These changes occur partly because older people may become less active but also because the production of the hormones that stimulate muscle development decreases. Thus, for older people, bed rest during an illness can have a devastating effect. Compared with younger people, older people start out with less muscle tissue and strength at the beginning of the illness and lose muscle tissue more quickly during the illness.
Drugs are another common cause of weakness in older people because older people take more drugs and are more susceptible to side effects of drugs .
When evaluating older people who report weakness, doctors also focus on conditions that do not cause weakness but interfere with balance, coordination, vision, or mobility or that make movement painful . Older people may mistakenly describe the effects of such conditions as weakness.
Regardless of what is causing weakness, physical therapy can usually help older people function better.
What You Can Do
Whether your muscle weakness happens because youre not as active, or its due to age or a health problem, regular exercise may help you regain some strength. Ask your doctor for advice, or consider seeing a physical therapist to help you find a healthy exercise routine. As you get older, regular exercise also can help prevent or slow muscle loss and weakening.
Harvard Health: COVID-19 Basics, Fight back against muscle weakness, Myositis.
American Family Physician: Muscle Weakness in Adults: Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis.
Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism: Clinical definition of sarcopenia.
Mayo Clinic: Diabetic neuropathy, Multiple sclerosis, Muscle Strains, Statin side effects: weight the benefits and risks, Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first?
UCSF Health: Cold or Flu?
Best Practice & Research: Clinical Rheumatology: Infectious myositis.
UT Southwestern Medical Center: Life after coronavirus: PM& R helps patients beat muscle weakness, brain fog, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
UpToDate: Patient education: Polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and other forms of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Myasthenia gravis fact sheet.
Circulation: Heart Failure: Mechanisms Underlying Skeletal Muscle Weakness in Human Heart Failure.
University of Rochester Medical Center: Myasthenia Gravis and Pregnancy.
StatPearls: Muscle strength grading.
Fatigue Fighting Fitness Tips
Whether you are starting to work out for the first time or you are a professional athlete, muscle fatigue is a normal side effect of exercise that may put a damper on your routine. Fatigue is your bodys way of adapting to a fitness regimen and making you aware that you have reached your metabolic/psychological limit.
The following healthy lifestyle changes and tips can help keep you from hitting a wall in your workout:
1. Nutrition Maintain a well-balanced diet that includes complex proteins, fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates. You should increase the amount of carbohydrates you eat, beginning seven days prior to exercising, to about 40-60% of your caloric intake for aerobic athletes and 30-35% for anaerobic athletes. This will maintain your muscles glycogen levels, which are depleted during exercise.
2. Eating Schedule Eat a light meal or snack about two hours before working out. It is not recommended to work out on a full stomach or an empty stomach. Make sure to eat within one hour after you work out. This will help repair and refuel the muscles that were broken down during exercise.
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What Are Common Causes Of Arm And Leg Weakness
Arm and leg weakness can be caused by a variety of different conditions, some of them temporary and others chronic. Excessive exercise is one cause of temporary fatigue in the major muscle groups, although this is not considered true muscle weakness. Conditions which may cause clinical weakness include neurological disorders, muscular problems or injuries, toxic overload, and certain metabolic illnesses.
There are many common reasons for arm and leg weakness that are not causes for alarm and generally get better with treatment. Muscle injuries due to playing sports are one example, as well temporary toxic overload in the body. Dehydration can also cause weakness in severe cases and can be remedied by replenishing fluids. Toxins can be removed from the body by doing a detoxifying cleanse, such as a juice fasting diet, or by discontinuing any activities or medications which may be causing the overload in the first place.
Sometimes illnesses such as cancer can also cause weakness, although other symptoms are generally noticed first. Another possible illness is diabetes, which can lead to all-over body fatigue and malaise when untreated. Other possible causes include an electrolyte imbalance, certain viruses like influenza, torn muscles or ligaments, and stroke.
Shortness Of Breath Causes
Both health and environmental issues can be associated with breathing difficulties and shortness of breath. Common environmental factors include dust and allergens, stress, high altitudes, and stuffy noses or blocked air passages.
Aside from these common environmental factors, there are also conditions of the lung and the heart that can cause shortness of breath. These conditions require treatment in order to return your breathing patterns to normal. The treatment of shortness of breath will depend on the underlying cause.
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Specific Causes Of New Onset Muscle Weakness
- Polio. A severe spinal cord disease that causes paralysis. It is prevented by the polio virus vaccine. Polio is almost wiped out in the entire world. There have been no cases in the US since 1979. Now, it only occurs in 2 countries.
- Acute Flaccid Myelitis . A rare infection of the spinal cord. It acts like polio did. It causes sudden onset of arm or leg weakness in one or more places. The main cause has been an enterovirus. There has been a rise in cases since 2014.
- West Nile Virus myelitis. See the Mosquito Bite care guide for details. Also acts like polio did.
- Guillain-Barre syndrome. A severe nerve weakness that starts in the feet and moves up the body over several days. It affects the same parts on both sides of the body. It can follow some viral infections.
- Tick paralysis. A rare problem from a tick that has been attached for 5 or more days. Often it is hidden in the hair. Once the tick is removed, the weakness clears. It takes a few hours to a day.
- Poisoning. Some types of poisoning can cause weakness, often with confusion.
- Viral myositis. Muscle pain in the leg muscles is seen with some viral infections, such as influenza. The pain can make some children not want to walk. This is different than weakness. The muscle pain lasts a few days to a week.
Get Worse With Activity And Improve With Rest
Myasthenia gravis can affect any of the muscles that you control voluntarily. It can affect muscles of the face, hands, eyes, arms and legs and those muscles involved in chewing, swallowing and talking. Muscles that control breathing and neck movement also can be affected.
MG does not affect involuntary muscles such as the heart, smooth muscles of the gut, blood vessels, and uterus.
The hallmark of weakness related to MG is that is worsens with sustained activity of the involved muscle. Eye muscle weakness worsens with reading, and double vision may improve with a brief rest. When speech is affected, symptoms worsen with prolonged talking. Extremity weakness if often noticed when holding arms over the head. Drooping of the eyelids, neck weakness and other symptoms are usually worse at the end of the day.
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Fatigued & Muscle Weakness In Arms And Legs No Idea Where To Start
I don’t even know where to start other than saying I’m glad I found this site. The level of support from fellow members is very reassuring.
I’m a 37yr old male, not in the best shape but far from out of shape. I’m active, I go to the gym, I race dirt bikes, hike, and you normal every day guy. Since my 20’s I’ve had a left knee that has steadily been getting worse. Last year diagnosed as Patella Pain Syndrome. In 2014 I had a bad skydiving landing and the instructor made us land on our butts, needless to say my tailbone took the weight of both of us and I spent a year going to a chiropractor for lower pack pain and neck pain. I stopped going in fall ’15. In Oct 2015 I did a very rough dirt bike race which left me beat up, my hands were buzzing, sore back and wrists. This wasn’t abnormal and I know I’m getting older so I didn’t think anything of it however over a month later my right wrist was still sore and then at night I started waking up with my hands and feet feeling numbish . I never had the pins and needles feeling, just the numbing type feeling. It extended to my mid forearms and upper calves. I saw my PCP who told me it was probably stress related and gave me some xanax. I hate taking pills so I never took them and instead followed up with a neurologist.
Anyone else experience anything like this?
1 like, 13 replies
I have to ask a really simple question, have you had an MRI?
IM surprised your neurologist hasn’t referred you for a scan?
What Are The Causes Of Muscle Weakness
Muscle weakness is commonly due to lack of exercise, ageing, muscle injury or pregnancy. It can also occur with long-term conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. There are many other possible causes, which include stroke, multiple sclerosis, depression, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome .
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The Quality Of The Sensation And What It Might Mean
Many things contribute to a sensation of shortness of breath,7 and the symptom breaks down into three messily overlapping qualities, which are interesting but dont tell us much about whats going on, just a couple rough clues:
- Effort: a sensation of excessive work or effort to breathe, like breathing is just a slog. It is loosely associated with impairment of the muscular function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
- Tightness: feeling tight may involve actual contstriction of airways as would occur in the early stages of an asthma attack . However, tightness can also be caused by actual spasticity of respiratory muscles, which could be ordinary muscle pain or more serious, like the infamous squeezing hug of multiple sclerosis.
- Air hunger: the most complex sensation, unsatisfied inspiration is described by patients in many ways, like starved for air or my breaths feel too small. Of the treatable causes, it is most clearly associated with anxiety. Although it sure doesnt feel like it, it can occur without any actual loss of respiratory capacity.
Primary Muscles Involved In The Task
Task failure has also been studied in limb muscles. One approach has been to compare the performance of two similar tasks and to identify the adjustments that limit the duration of the more difficult task . In one task, referred to as the force task, the limb was attached to a restraint and the subject was required to maintain a constant force for as long as possible while viewing force feedback on a monitor. The other task, referred to as the position task, required the subject to support an inertial load that was equivalent to the force exerted during the force task, and to maintain a constant joint angle for as long as possible while viewing position feedback on a monitor. Although both tasks involve sustained isometric contractions and required the same net muscle torque for each subject, stretch reflexes evoked during such tasks suggest that the neural strategy underlying the same motor output differs . Furthermore, the recruitment thresholds of motor units in biceps brachii differ for tasks that involve maintaining a position or exerting a force .
Discharge characteristics of single motor units in biceps brachii during the force and position tasks
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A Symptom Of Common Cold Or Flu
Its not difficult to notice the symptoms of a cold or flu. Youre sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and feel miserable. Another tell-tell symptom of these dreaded viruses is muscle weakness. You may feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, and your arms and legs have turned to lead.
To help your sore muscles when you have a cold or flu, rest maybe your best option. Drink plenty of fluids and try to relax your muscles. According to a study published by Chest Journal, a steaming bowl of chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease your breathing and soothe sore muscles.
Why Do Our Muscles Get Fatigued
We often blame lactic acid or running out of energy, but these factors alone dont account for muscle fatigue.
Theres another major contributor: the muscles ability to respond to signals from the brain.
To understand the roots of muscle fatigue, it helps to know how a muscle contracts in response to a signal from a nerve.
These signals travel from the brain to the muscles in a fraction of a second via long, thin cells called motor neurons.
The motor neuron and the muscle cell are separated by a tiny gap, and the exchange of particles across this gap enables the contraction.
On the other side, charged particles, or ions, line the muscle cells membrane: potassium on the inside, and sodium on the outside.
In response to a signal from the brain, the motor neuron releases acetylcholine, which triggers pores on the muscle cell membrane to open.
Sodium flows in, and potassium flows out.
The flux of these charged particles is a crucial step for muscle contraction: the change in charge creates an electrical signal called an action potential that spreads through the muscle cell, stimulating the release of calcium thats stored inside it.
This flood of calcium causes the muscle to contract by enabling proteins buried in the muscle fibres to lock together and ratchet towards each other, pulling the muscle tight.
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