Weakness or Loss of Strength

General or Other | General Practice | Weakness or Loss of Strength (Symptom)


Weakness is a feeling of being tired or exhausted, or experiencing a loss of strength. Weakness may not always be accompanied by obvious or visible illness.


Short-term weakness may occur because of overwork, stress, or lack of sleep. It's possible to feel weakness after overcoming an illness, such as a cold or the flu. Some weakness may occur after vigorous physical activity. Weakness may occur throughout the entire body or in a specific area, such as arms or legs. Weakness may also be localized to a single muscle such as a calf muscle in your leg.

Weakness may be a symptom of depression. Depression is defined as feeling blue, miserable or sad. While occasional periods of sadness are normal, long-term depression, called clinical depression, may indicate serious emotional or psychological problems. Weakness or fatigue that is persistent always requires the prompt attention of your health care provider.

Weakness may also occur because of physical diseases or toxic disorders. Long-term (chronic) conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or an underactive thyroid, may cause weakness. Short-term (acute) conditions, such as a pinched nerve or a urinary tract infection, may also cause weakness. Other possible causes of weakness are toxic disorders (botulism), exposure to an insecticide, or shellfish poisoning. Weakness may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Weakness that is related to a physical disorder may differ from weakness that is related to an emotional or psychological condition. Weakness may accompany other symptoms affecting the body including: abdominal pain or cramping, bloody or pink-coloured urine (hematuria), body aches, cloudy urine, diarrhea, difficult or painful urination, or burning with urination (dysuria), fatigue, fever and chills, flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches, and pains), foul-smelling urine, general ill feeling, missed menstrual periods.