What Is General Weakness?

An overall feeling of fatigue and tiredness may be referred to as general weakness.
General weakness could be a sign of multiple sclerosis, among many other diseases.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
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General weakness is an overall feeling of fatigue, weakness, and tiredness. Usually, general weakness is a feeling that occurs over the entire body, and cannot be pinpointed to one specific location. Weakness may occur in a specific muscle group, however; for instance, overexertion of the legs during exercise can lead to a feeling of overall weakness in the legs. General weakness is usually a symptom of something else, rather than a condition in and of itself.

Overall weakness can be caused by a number of things; temporary illnesses such as a cold or the flu can cause weakness, or medical conditions such as a thyroid condition, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis can cause overall feelings of fatigue. In addition, simple explanations such as overexerting oneself while exercising, eating a consistently poor diet, or not getting enough sleep at night can cause general weakness as well. Mental illness such as depression can lead to persistent feelings of fatigue.

The symptoms of general weakness can be difficult to pinpoint. Usually, an overall feeling of tiredness is present; it may seem difficult or impossible to exercise or participate in any sort of physical activity. Muscles may or may not be sore. Weakness is a fairly common symptom with a great number of potential different sicknesses, so it will often be necessary to experience a few other symptoms in order to receive a diagnosis from a doctor.

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One who is experiencing general weakness can often resolve the problem by getting some rest, taking a break from exercising, attempting to get more sleep at night, and improving the diet by making sure that it is balanced and full of enough nutrients. Sometimes, a specific nutrient deficiency can lead to a feeling of overall fatigue and weakness. The weakness should usually resolve within a few days or so; if it does not, it is best to consider other potential causes of weakness. A doctor may perform blood tests or other diagnostic procedures to determine if a medical condition is present.

General weakness in a specific muscle group is generally caused by overexerting the muscle, either accidentally or during exercise. If the weakness suddenly occurs in the left arm, however, and is possibly accompanied by throbbing pain or shortness of breath, this can be indicative of a heart attack. Otherwise, specific muscle group weakness should also heal by itself within a few days, but it is important to allow the muscles to rest, and to not continue to strain them.

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Perdido
Post 8

After my car wreck, I felt general weakness for awhile. Though the only part of my body injured was my knee, my entire body felt the effects of the impact.

I discussed this with my friend who had been in an even worse wreck before. She told me that I just didn’t realize how much of a trauma my body had been through. I hit the other vehicle very hard, and that shook me up in ways I didn’t even realize.

I seemed to need endless sleep in the days following the accident. Getting up to go to the bathroom took a lot out of me in my weakened state. There was no part of me that wasn’t tired.

shell4life
Post 7

The greatest weakness I have ever felt occurred after a day of planting tulips. I had to dig eight inches down with a shovel, and I had to cover an area six feet long. I wasn’t used to digging at all, so it really affected me.

I must have spent several hours working on this project. I was a little sore afterwards, but the extreme weakness didn’t hit me until the next day. I tried to get up out of bed, and I found that I could barely walk!

For about four days after that, I didn’t do much at all. Though the soreness was concentrated in my legs, I felt weak all over. My system was in shock.

orangey03
Post 6

I am unhappy with the way my life has turned out, and I have become depressed. I live with my sadness constantly, and it causes physical weakness.

I am very unfulfilled at my job. There is no chance of promotion, and there are no other opportunities in my field near where I live. Every day, I go to work just to make it through until 5:00 p.m.

When I get home, I am so tired that I can’t do the things I used to enjoy. My body won’t cooperate. It takes so much energy just to sit instead of lie down.

Moving to another city is not an option for me. My family and friends are here. I’m just really disillusioned right now, and my body is feeling the effects of it. Exercising used to put me in a good mood, but I can’t even do that anymore. So, the physical weakness caused by my mental state is making my mind even sadder.

seag47
Post 5

I have chronic kidney disease, and it causes fatigue. Most of the time, I’m just tired all over. Even getting up to make a sandwich takes too much out of me.

There are some days that I feel okay, but most of the time, daily activities strain my body. It got so difficult to go to work every day that I started working at home instead.

I will probably always feel this way. I eat the best diet that I can and get lots of rest, but that can only go so far with me.

cupcake15
Post 4

@BrickBack - I have heard that too. I was watching a program about multiple sclerosis the other day and it also causes a feeling of weakness.

This condition attacks the muscles along with the brain and really causes the person to develop fatigue and weakness in the muscles. It is like their brain is getting the wrong information so aside from the weakness that they feel they sometimes have problems with their coordination.

A lot of people with this condition walk with canes and some eventually have to use wheel chairs to get around. Autoimmune diseases like lupus and fibromyalgia also cause enormous feelings of

They say that there is a hereditary component to these conditions. My husband has a cousin that has both lupus and fibromyalgia and she is in constant pain along with feeling tired all of the time. She is now going to a support group at her local hospital because the debilitation of this disease causes her to feel depressed a lot.

I have to say that the support group has helped her lift her spirits a little. I guess she now feels like she is not alone.

BrickBack
Post 3

@Animegal - I think that a lot of conditions can lend itself to an overall feeling of weakness. I know that often people that have hypothyroidism also have problems feeling weak and tired all of the time.

This happened to my sister. She kept feeling tired all of the time and had difficulty losing weight. She went to a doctor who suggested that she see an endocrinologist that diagnosed her with this condition.

Her thyroid was not producing enough hormones which caused her to feel tired all of the time and because her metabolic rate was so low she had trouble losing weight and even put on a few pounds even when she did nothing different with her eating habits.

It was a really frustrating feeling to have and her doctor said that this condition is happening more to women going through perimenopause as well those in full blown menopause. Her doctor said that hormone replacement therapy, shots of Vitamin B12 and daily exercise along with a healthy diet would give her more energy.

animegal
Post 2

@letshearit - I had general body weakness back in high school and my parents ended up taking me to a doctor because they thought I had mono. It actually turned out that I was really badly anemic, and it was causing me to feel weak all the time and just be miserable in general.

Weakness symptoms are tough to tie to any one disease I guess, because so many things can make us feel pretty terrible overall. I was lucky that after I started getting iron shots that my general weakness disappeared and I was able to do the things I loved again.

letshearit
Post 1

General body weakness is also a sign of mononucleosis, otherwise known as the kissing disease. Of course, it can be spread from something as simple as sharing a cup.

I had mono and the weakness fatigue was just terrible. I remember just wanting to stay in bed all day and feeling like I was going to faint if I over exerted myself. Not to mention that the general muscle weakness made it hard to do anything I needed to do.

My doctor told me that I basically just had to wait for my mono to get out of my system. That was a horrible four months.

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