What Does Weakness on One Side of the Body Mean?

weakness ipsilateralMuscle weakness can be a sign of several different health issues. With that said, when it occurs on only one side of the body, there’s reason for alarm. Many times, this symptom is a sign of a stroke, which occurs when arterial blockages interrupt blood flow to the brain. Since this can lead to disability or death, it’s important to seek medical attention to determine whether immediate intervention is necessary.
Understanding Your Symptoms
Weakness can stem from a variety of causes; however, if it comes on suddenly, you should seek medical attention right away. Even minor weakness in the arms or legs can be a sign of a stroke, which can prove fatal without medical help. Likewise, since over two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some type of disability, it’s important to get quick attention to minimize these negative effects.
Other Potential Causes
Unexplained weakness demands quick medical attention; however, it’s not always caused by a life-threatening condition. Sometimes, weakness can be attributed to other factors, including:

  • Metabolic Causes
    • Low sodium or potassium
    • Hyperparathyroidism
    • Thyrotoxicosis
    • Addison’s disease
  • Neurologic
    • Pinched nerve
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Guillain-Barre syndrome
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Bell’s palsy
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Muscle Diseases
    • Myotonic dystrophy
    • Dermatomyositis
    • Becker muscular dystrophy

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