Loss of Muscle Function: A Medical Emergency?

Loss of Muscle Function

Loss of Muscle Function

The loss of muscle function is considered a medical emergency. It is when the muscle does not work or move normally. Loss of muscle function is typically caused by a disease of the muscle itself (myopathy) or a disease of the nervous system.  The specific conditions that can cause loss of muscle function will be enumerated later. Even with treatment, loss of muscle function often does not completely return. When there is total or complete loss of muscle function, the medical term is called paralysis. For paralysis that affects the respiratory muscles, it can quickly become fatal. Enrolling in First Aid and CPR Courses can help identify medical emergencies such as loss of muscle function.

Terms that Define of Loss of Muscle Function

The following are terms that are typically used to describe loss of muscle function. The common terms include:

  • Partial – affects only a part of the body
  • Total – affects the entire body; often associated with severe spinal cord injuries
  • Localized – found only in a small area
  • Generalized – body wide or widespread
  • Unilateral (Hemiplagia) – affects one side
  • Bilateral – affects both side
  • Quadriplegia – affects both arms and legs
  • Paraplegia – affects lower half of the body and both legs

Causes of Loss of Muscle Function

Loss of muscle function is generally caused by a disease of the muscle itself (myopathy) or a disease of the nervous system. As a disease of the nervous system, it can be caused by nerve damage (neuropathy), spinal cord or nerve injury, or brain damage.

Disease of a Muscle:

  • Dermatomyositis or polymyositis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Alcohol-associated myopathy
  • Drug-induced myopathy
  • Congenital myopathies

Disease of Nervous System

  • Stroke
  • Brain or head injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neuropathy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Polio
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Botulism
  • Paralytic shellfish poisoning
  • Peroneal nerve injury
  • Periodic paralysis

First Aid Management for Loss of Muscle Function

Loss of muscle function, especially sudden attacks, are considered a medical emergency, thus it is necessary to seek medical help immediately. In cases of a sudden loss of muscle function, the following steps are generally advised:

  • Call emergency medical services immediately. Ensure that the patient stays in a safe and secured location while waiting for paramedics and do not leave the patient at all times.
  • If there is suspected head or spinal injury, do not move the victim unless absolutely necessary, such as in burning cars.
  • If there is no breathing and pulse, initiate CPR immediately.

Loss of muscle function or when the muscles do not work or move normally is typically a medical emergency, thus it is necessary to seek medical help at all times to avoid further damage.

Online Sources:

http://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-function-loss?toptoctest=expand

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003190.htm

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