Unusual narrowing of the blood vessels or other tubular structures or organs is referred to as stenosis. In simple words stenosis means narrowing of the various body parts. The common causes for stenosis include birth defects, inflammation, neoplasm (abnormal proliferation of cells), ischemia (reduction of blood supply thus damaging tissues), infection, iatrogenic (complications arising from any treatment) and atherosclerosis.
Spinal stenosis: Specific causes include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, aging, spinal injury or tumor and spondylosis. Symptoms include pain and weakness in the legs along with cramps, imbalance and loss of control over bladder and bowel movements.
Mitral valve stenosis: Specific causes include endocarditis, atrial myoxma, rheumatic fever and Lutembacher syndrome. Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis are fatigue, recurrent respiratory infections and swelling in the feet.
Aortic valve stenosis: This type of Stenosis may be caused by rheumatic fever, Williams syndrome, LDL receptor deficiency and senile or bicuspid aortic valves. The typical symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are chest pain and heart murmur, fatigue and shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Pulmonary valve stenosis: Specific causes include deformity during fetal development, rheumatic fever and endocarditis. This type of stenosis has symptoms of cough and fatigue, fluid retention and shortness of breath.
Treatment differs according to the type of stenosis. While physical therapy, drugs like analgesics and lumbar brace are used to manage spinal stenosis, aortic valve stenosis and pulmonary valve stenosis are treated with valve replacement surgery.
Septicemia is a life-threatening infection; where there is bacteria in the blood. This is a form of blood poisoning and the fatality rate is nearly 50%. It is also called a systemic inflammatory response syndrome or SIRS where the whole body is inflamed due to suspected infection. Severe sepsis leads to organ failure. Infections in the lungs, urinary tract or abdomen can lead to sepsis. Other conditions that can lead to septicemia are endocarditis, meningitis and osteomyelitis. Symptoms of sepsis begin with chills, high fever and rapid breathing. The condition worsens rapidly with hypothermia and low blood pressure setting in. There is very low urine output. Blood test for platelet count, CBC, blood gases and PTT are done. CSF culture is also done to diagnose sepsis. Treatment of septicemia involves hospitalization. IV fluids and medications are administered. Plasma is often given when clotting factors are affected. Dialysis and mechanical ventilation might be required to support the kidney and lung function.
Weakness, loss of strength or lack of energy is described as Asthenia. This weakness results in reduced strength thus making it difficult for a person to perform or complete a task. This condition may be indicative of a larger problem/disease. Asthenia is experienced differently by different people thus making it difficult to understand the underlying problem.
The entire body may be affected or only a part of the body may be affected. Asthenia can affect people belonging to any age group. A person suffering from asthenia may not be in a position to complete any task. Asthenia as a condition may be continuos, chronic or temporary. It is more a symptom than a condition itself. It is not life threatening; but it does affect the quality of life. The weakness experienced can either be perceived or true.
Weakness is classified as true weakness when there is an actual loss in muscle strength and capability that may have been caused due to an injury or muscle defect. Weakness is termed as perceived weakness when the muscles of a person are functioning well and yet he feels unable to complete the task. This type of weakness is non-neuromuscular weakness.
Symptoms may vary depending on how much of the body is affected; part of the body or the entire body. The symptoms also vary depending on the underlying condition and other symptoms that exist. When the entire body is affected, the symptoms include:
When only part of the body is affected, the symptoms include slow movement, muscle twitching and muscle cramps. If asthenia is present along with other symptoms like extreme pain, slurred speech, confusion, change in vision etc, it needs immediate medical attention.
Common causes for asthenia include:
Sedentary lifestyle: Leads to muscle waste, muscle fibers are replaced by fat due to inactivity thereby reducing muscle fitness.
Advancing age: With age, the muscles in the body loosen or weaken.
Infection: Infection leads to muscle inflammation thus making it weak.
Chronic diseases: Chronic diseases may reduce blood and nutrient supply to muscles thus making them weak.
Vitamin deficiency; in particular vitamin B9
Anxiety or depression
Adverse effects of certain medicines
Treatment for other diseases like radiation therapy or chemotherapy
Chronic lung disease
Asthenia classified as per cause
Asthenia can be classified based on what causes the condition. Common types include:
The underlying cause of asthenia determines the treatment. Based on what has caused asthenia, treatment is prescribed.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 21, 2019