London: Muscle weakness is sneaky. It often appears gradually and makes once-simple tasks harder like having to rock back and forth to get out of a chair or tug a few times on the car door to open it. More than an inconvenience, muscle weakness has a domino effect on health.
It slows your metabolism, puts more pressure on your joints, hurts your posture, throws off your balance, and limits your mobility. “The bad news is, it gets worse. You walk slower and become dependent on others to do things.
Fight Back Against Muscle Weakness
Physical limitations lead to social limitations, and there’s a downward spiral from there,” says Marian Hannan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research.
Don’t ignore the sudden weakness Sudden muscle weakness could be a sign of a stroke the interruption of blood flow to the brain that occurs when a blood vessel is blocked or ruptures.
Why are your muscles weak?
We all get a little weaker as we age, a condition called sarcopenia. “We begin losing muscle fibers, mass, and function starting in our 30s and 40s, but we don’t typically see it until our 60s and 70s,” Hannan says. Beyond aging, there are many possible causes of muscle weakness. These are some of the most common:
Inactivity. When you don’t use your muscles maybe you’re a couch potato, you have chronic pain from arthritis or an old injury, or you were hospitalized recently the muscles waste away.
Medication side effects. Some medications are linked to muscle weakness. Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) regularly weaken muscles. Cholesterol-lowering medicines (such as lovastatin, simvastatin, or atorvastatin) weaken them in some people.
An underlying condition. Many disorders can cause muscle weakness, such as neuropathy (which causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hands or feet), carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of a nerve in the wrist), or the aftermath of a stroke.
Some diseases rob otherwise healthy muscle fibers of the energy they need: certain sleep disorders; an autoimmune disease, such as thyroid disorder; chronic fatigue syndrome; depression; or even a weak heart that pumps too little oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. With these conditions, your muscles may initially feel strong with activity, but they rapidly fatigue and lose power.
What you should do:
If you suspect your muscle weakness is due to an underlying condition, a visit to the doctor may be in order. An exam will include a full medical history and physical evaluation, and possibly blood tests or a test to measure how well your nerves send information to your muscles. If you’re generally healthy but suffering from the effects of inactivity, it’s time to start a regular exercise program.
With or without the disease, a regular program of strengthening and stretching the muscles will make a big difference. Hannan recommends working with a physical therapist to develop a program tailored to your abilities and particular muscle weakness. “You’ll improve what you have and figure out a workaround if there’s something you can’t do,” Hannan notes.
Don’t expect quick success. “You won’t regain 100% of the muscle strength you had 10 years ago,” Hannan says, “but remember that you want to be functional and do what you want to do, whether that’s playing tennis or going for a bike ride with your grandkids. Strengthening your muscles can help you get there.” via tribunecontentagency