What is weakness?

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Weakness: Overview

Weakness is a lack of physical or muscle strength. You may feel that you need to make extra effort to move your arms, legs, or other muscles. Generalized weakness means that you feel weak in most areas of your body. Another type of weakness may affect just one muscle or group of muscles.

You may feel weak and tired after you have done too much activity, such as taking an extra-long hike. This is not a serious problem. It often goes away on its own.

Feeling weak can also be caused by medical conditions like thyroid problems, depression, or a virus. Sometimes the cause can be serious. Your doctor may want to do more tests to try to find the cause of the weakness.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.


Weakness is a lack of physical or muscle strength and the feeling that extra effort is required to move the arms, legs, or other muscles.

How can you care for weakness?

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Be safe with medicines. If your doctor prescribed medicine, take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Do not skip meals. Eating a balanced diet may increase your energy level.
  • Get some physical activity every day, but do not get too tired.

Weakness: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse weakness.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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