Items in AFP with MESH term: Muscle Weakness
ABSTRACT: Muscle weakness is a common complaint among patients presenting to family physicians. Diagnosis begins with a patient history distinguishing weakness from fatigue or asthenia, separate conditions with different etiologies that can coexist with, or be confused for, weakness. The pattern and severity of weakness, associated symptoms, medication use, and family history help the physician determine whether the cause of a patient's weakness is infectious, neurologic, endocrine, inflammatory, rheumatologic, genetic, metabolic, electrolyte-induced, or drug-induced. In the physical examination, the physician should objectively document the patient's loss of strength, conduct a neurologic survey, and search for patterns of weakness and extramuscular involvement. If a specific cause of weakness is suspected, the appropriate laboratory or radiologic studies should be performed. Otherwise, electromyography is indicated to confirm the presence of a myopathy or to evaluate for a neuropathy or a disease of the neuromuscular junction. If the diagnosis remains unclear, the examiner should pursue a tiered progression of laboratory studies. Physicians should begin with blood chemistries and a thyroid-stimulating hormone assay to evaluate for electrolyte and endocrine causes, then progress to creatine kinase level, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and antinuclear antibody assays to evaluate for rheumatologic, inflammatory, genetic, and metabolic causes. Finally, many myopathies require a biopsy for diagnosis. Pathologic evaluation of the muscle tissue specimen focuses on histologic, histochemical, electron microscopic, biochemical, and genetic analyses; advances in technique have made a definitive diagnosis possible for many myopathies.
ABSTRACT: Peripheral nerve injury of the upper extremity commonly occurs in patients who participate in recreational (e.g., sports) and occupational activities. Nerve injury should be considered when a patient experiences pain, weakness, or paresthesias in the absence of a known bone, soft tissue, or vascular injury. The onset of symptoms may be acute or insidious. Nerve injury may mimic other common musculoskeletal disorders. For example, aching lateral elbow pain may be a symptom of lateral epicondylitis or radial tunnel syndrome; patients who have shoulder pain and weakness with overhead elevation may have a rotator cuff tear or a suprascapular nerve injury; and pain in the forearm that worsens with repetitive pronation activities may be from carpal tunnel syndrome or pronator syndrome. Specific history features are important, such as the type of activity that aggravates symptoms and the temporal relation of symptoms to activity (e.g., is there pain in the shoulder and neck every time the patient is hammering a nail, or just when hammering nails overhead?). Plain radiography and magnetic resonance imaging are usually not necessary for initial evaluation of a suspected nerve injury. When pain or weakness is refractory to conservative therapy, further evaluation (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging, electrodiagnostic testing) or surgical referral should be considered. Recovery of nerve function is more likely with a mild injury and a shorter duration of compression. Recovery is faster if the repetitive activities that exacerbate the injury can be decreased or ceased. Initial treatment for many nerve injuries is nonsurgical.
Heat-Related Illness - Article
ABSTRACT: Heat-related illness is a set of preventable conditions ranging from mild forms (e.g., heat exhaustion, heat cramps) to potentially fatal heat stroke. Hot and humid conditions challenge cardiovascular compensatory mechanisms. Once core temperature reaches 104°F (40°C), cellular damage occurs, initiating a cascade of events that may lead to organ failure and death. Early recognition of symptoms and accurate measurement of core temperature are crucial to rapid diagnosis. Milder forms of heat-related illness are manifested by symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness, and an inability to continue activity. These are managed by supportive measures including hydration and moving the patient to a cool place. Hyperthermia and central nervous system symptoms should prompt an evaluation for heat stroke. Initial treatments should focus on lowering core temperature through cold water immersion. Applying ice packs to the head, neck, axilla, and groin is an alternative. Additional measures include transporting the patient to a cool environment, removing excess clothing, and intravenous hydration. Delayed access to cooling is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in persons with heat stroke. Identification of at-risk groups can help physicians and community health agencies provide preventive measures.