Asthenia (Weakness): Common Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


Asthenia is a term used by the doctors to refer to weakness. It is psychopathological and characterized by extreme acute or chronic loss of strength.

This condition has been known to cause sleep disturbances, fatigue, or lack of energy.

Asthenia also causes extreme weakness in those who suffer from it. The primary concern with asthenia is perceived or true weakness.

True weakness is when the muscles are weak due defects or damage, perceived weakness is the non-neuromuscular weakness which is in your mind and not an actual defect.

Those affected with asthenia will find tasks more difficult or unable to be completed due to the difficulty with their weakness.

Asthenia or Extreme Weakness

Fast Facts about Asthenia

Here we will discuss some of the more common knowledge with asthenia and some things you may not know.

It will provide some insight into the condition and what to look for and expect. The condition can affect the entire body or various parts.

  • It causes extreme weakness, fatigue or loss of energy and strength in those afflicted.
  • Asthenia can occur in anyone and everyone, regardless of their age or gender.
  • The condition can either be temporary or chronic and continuous.
  • It is not a life-threatening condition, but it can lead to reduced ability in performing usual tasks.
  • The most common first signs of the condition are seen in the muscles of eyes and eyelids.
  • Neurocirculatory asthenia is where the patients have insomnia, heart palpitations, and breathing issues.

Causes of Asthenia

What causes asthenia? There are many different environmental and physical factors that lead to asthenia.

1. Aging

Aging or advancement in age is considered to be a part of the causes. As your body grows older, the muscles do as well and will not work properly. They cause tasks to be more challenging to complete and do.

2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy can do this as well. During the pregnancy, the woman will experience a boost in steroids in their bloodstream. This can cause anemia which will result in not enough oxygen reaching the different parts of the body.

3. Chronic Diseases

Chronic disease may also lead to muscle weakness. There is a weakness of muscles due to some conditions because of the insufficient blood and nutrient supply towards the muscles.

4. Sedentary Lifestyle

One of the most common causes of asthenia or weakness is a sedentary lifestyle. This will result in muscle wasting from the lack of mobility or inactivity.

According to the World Health Organization, 60-85 percent of people around the globe do not get the necessary amount of physical activity.

5. Anxiety and Depression

Your mental health may be a cause of the condition as well.

Those who suffer from anxiety and depression have been found to have more inactive lifestyles. This can lead to serious damages to the muscles in your body and weakness.

6. Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies have been found to cause the extreme weakness too. If your muscles are not being adequately fueled, then they will not be able to work as they should.

7. Chemotherapy and other Medications

It has been found that those who are going through chemotherapy treatment can suffer from asthenia.

An unfortunate side effect of the medicine is fatigue which results in the user not wanting to move around as much. This can cause possible damage or wear on the muscles as they are not in active use.

8. Nerve or Muscle Injury

People who have had nerve or muscle injuries can also be affected by this condition. The muscles after being damaged will not be able to work correctly; this can cause weakness and make tasks very difficult.

9. Heart Attack or Stroke

Those who have suffered from a heart attack or stroke may also experience asthenia.

This is due to a momentary lack of oxygen being circulated through the bloodstream and the muscles affected were not able to absorb the necessary materials to function and experience a loss of strength.

These are just some of what causes asthenia.

Symptoms of Asthenia or Extreme Weakness

There are three main symptoms associated with asthenia. They each have their own unique descriptions and things that should be watched for when being diagnosed. Below are the three symptoms and the signs to look for.

1. Isolated Weakness

Isolated weakness is when you feel weak in one part of your body. You may find that you can’t move that part of your body efficiently.

You may also experience:

  • Slow or delayed movement
  • Uncontrollable shaking or tremors
  • Muscle twitching
  • Muscle cramps

This is one of the more common symptoms associated with asthenia and should be addressed with your doctor for proper treatment.

2. Full-Body Weakness

Full-body weakness is a similar feeling of weakness you get when you have the flu. It causes you to feel run down. It is known as fatigue, but it’s also possible to experience full-body weakness without feeling tired.

Some people who experience full-body weakness also experience flu-like symptoms or pain in the affected area.

You should talk to your doctor if this is something you are experiencing and if it is causing a negative impact on your daily life.

3. Dangerous Symptoms

You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

These could be the signs of a more serious condition that should be addressed immediately by your doctor.

Types of Asthenia

There are many different types of asthenia and knowing which one you have is important for properly diagnosing and treating it.

1. Nerve asthenic syndrome

A form of neurosis whereby the central nervous system is greatly weakened. This leaves the affected person in a bad mood and irritable.

2. Expressed asthenic syndrome

May develop as a result of an underlying organic brain disorder. These altered mental states tend to leave the person with tension and are extremely sensitive to stimuli.

3. Cerebroasthenic syndrome

Occurs due to a violation of the metabolism of brain neurons as the result of an unknown infection or injury.

4. Asthenia with flu

Viral infection is a common cause of muscular weakness. Leaves patients with a reduced capacity to work.

5. Vegetative syndrome

Can be seen in adults and children and can be appreciated during times of serious infection.

6. Asthenic depression

Presents with sudden mood swings, impaired concentration, memory loss, and impatience.

7. Alcohol asthenia

Common presentation in alcoholics.

Asthenia Diagnosis

A proper diagnosis of this will be found after blood tests and other tests. The blood tests will detect an increased level of certain antibodies that spark the disorder.

The other tests are injected into the afflicted area to see if there is a temporary relief to the fatigue. Your glucose, liver function and calcium will also be checked.

All of these are important for the proper function of your muscles and keep them working in great condition.

Creatinine tests for the renal function can also help diagnose and also looking for a possible iron deficiency. The use of X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasounds will show if there are any damaged muscles or previously unknown injuries in the body.

These will provide insight into the possibility of any physical damage to the body that will cause weakness.

How to Treat Asthenia or Extreme Weakness

knowing which asthenia treatment will work for you all depends on which type you are affected by. There are some treatments that will help fix all of them, but the individual types will also have their own individual treatments.

Listed below are different asthenia treatments for the different types.

1. Infection Treatment

Treating the infection using antibiotics is one of the best ways to treat asthenia. The antibiotics will work to clear out the infection which will result in the asthenia being reduced as well.

2. Lower Depression

Antidepressant medication can help recover from fatigue. You will want to discuss this with your doctor beforehand as many antidepressants will affect people differently.

Your physician will be able to properly prescribe you with the antidepressant that best fits your bodies needs and symptoms.

3. Add Vitamins to Your Diet

You will want to consult your doctor to see which vitamin you are deficient in. once this is completed begin supplementing that vitamin into your daily diet, whether that is done by eating more of a food that has it, or by taking a pill.

Once your body begins to digest and develop a higher amount of that vitamin in your system. After a week or more you will begin to notice the asthenia going away and your energy coming back. The more common vitamin deficiencies are B12 and folate.

4. Avoid Overworking

If you are overworking the muscles in your body this can lead to extreme weakness. All you need to do for this to be fixed is to change your lifestyle.

Try not to work out the same muscle groups every day as this will cause the asthenia to develop and grow.

Spreading out your workout plan over a multi-day system with rest days in between will provide you with a stronger ending and healthier body.

5. Treat Cancer

Your doctor will be able to provide you with treatment options. When it comes to cancer-causing asthenia, every case is very specific and different from each other.

It all depends on the stage, location and body structure to get a good and healthy treatment option for you.

6. Iron Supplementation

You may require iron supplementation if it appears that you’re iron deficient. This can be done with the pill or possibly a blood transfusion. It is best to consult with your doctor on what the best treatment route is for you and your case.

Asthenia is a condition that can be caused by any number of environmental factors. It can happen from not leaving the house enough, or from suffering an injury. Luckily, it is not fatal and can be dealt with by simple lifestyle changes in many cases.

More often than not this condition is caused by the cold or flu and will be fixed in a matter of days.

If it is something else, it is always best to consult with your doctor on what the best treatment options are for you and your case.

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Dr. Mark Williams, MD

Dr. Mark Williams is a leader in alternative and integrated medicines. He is a medical writer and reviewer at Daily Health Cures. He received his medical degree in 1988. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Daily Health Cures editorial team. He is a natural health advisor and provides a variety of alternative healing techniques in his practice.