Asthenia / Adynamia: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is a term used by the medical community to refer to weakness. It is a psychopathological condition characterized by an extreme loss of strength.

This condition can cause sleep disturbances, fatigue or lack of energy, hyperesthesia, and extreme skin sensitivity.

The asthenia may be restricted to a single part of the body or affect the body as a whole.

This condition can cause those affected can not perform or complete tasks. Activities can be started without problems, but they can be challenging to complete due to a reduction or loss of general strength.

An underlying disease or other medical condition may reduce muscle strength, such as muscular dystrophy.

Weakness in asthenia

It can be described as true perceived weakness or weakness:

True weakness

Also known as neuromuscular weakness, it is characterized by limited muscle use due to reduced force caused by a defect or damage.


Perceived weakness

Also known as non-neuromuscular weakness, it is characterized by the perception of weakness when performing a task, while the physiology of the muscle is normal.

What are the causes of asthenia?

There are many reasons why you may experience excessive amounts of weakness. The following are just some examples:

Anxiety or depression

These conditions are considered the leading cause of fatigue and represent the majority of cases of asthenia.

Unfortunately, most cases are not recognized or diagnosed. Excessive amounts of anxiety or depression can interfere with a person’s life, affecting their functional status and quality of life.

Sedentary lifestyle

According to the World Health Organization, between 60 and 85 percent of people worldwide do not receive the necessary amount of physical activity. This lack of movement can weaken the muscles over time.


As we get older, the ability of our cells and tissues to maintain homeostasis becomes increasingly tricky.

This can make older people less active in preserving energy. When a person is under stress, the symptoms of asthenia are seen more frequently.

Infections / chronic diseases

Making the body constantly use resources to fight infections can lead to a decrease in energy levels.

Prolonged infections in the body, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis, can cause asthenia due to its debilitating effect on the muscles. Conditions like diabetes and insomnia can also lead to severe weakness.

Vitamin deficiencies

The lack of essential vitamins can reduce the production of red blood cells and lower energy levels.


The symptoms of this condition depend on whether they are localized or generalized throughout the body, but regardless of that, they always present with some weakness.

Having an underlying cause of the condition can also present with additional symptoms unique to that particular underlying condition.

The following are common symptoms of asthenia:

Affect only one part of the body:

  • Slow or delayed movements.
  • Episodes of tremors or tremors.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Muscle cramps.

Affect the whole body:

  • Feeling exhausted or fatigued
  • Fever.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Physical discomfort
  • Absence or loss of muscle strength.
  • Inability to complete tasks.
  • Loss of balance due to weakness.

Types of asthenia

There are several forms and classifications of asthenia. They are classified according to the underlying cause and are the following:

Síndrome asténico del nervio

A form of neurosis by which the central nervous system weakens a lot. This leaves the affected individual in a bad mood, irritable, and possibly very aggressive.

Síndrome asténico expresado

Also known as an organic asthenic disorder, it can develop due to an underlying organic brain disorder.

Altered mental states tend to leave these patients stressed, as they are susceptible to stimuli during stressful periods.

Cerebrovascular syndrome

This occurs due to a violation of brain neuron metabolism due to a previously unknown infection or head injury.

This often manifests as emotions that the patient can not control.

Asthenia with flu

This viral infection is a common cause of muscle weakness, which causes patients to become irritated, become unsuitable, and reduce their ability to work.

Vegetative syndrome

A form of asthenia can be seen in adults and children and can be seen during periods of severe infection.

Depresión Asténica

It can present with sudden and uncontrollable mood swings. You can also see other symptoms of altered concentration, memory loss, and impatience.

Asthenia for alcohol

A joint presentation that appears in alcoholics.


The diagnosis of asthenia can be tricky since weakness’s primary symptom is nonspecific and can have causes.

Most likely, your doctor will perform a whole battery of tests to see if the values ​​look abnormal.

These tests may include:

Blood test

They can help diagnose vitamin deficiencies, inflammation markers, and electrolyte imbalances.

Urine tests

They can help rule out diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and pregnancy as a cause of extreme debilitation.

Other tests

Depending on what your doctor suspects are the underlying cause, they can perform specialized tests to make an accurate diagnosis.


To receive adequate treatment for asthenia, the underlying causes must be identified. The reason will determine what should be done to help recover.

The following are some of the possible treatments depending on their cause:

Asthenia due to infection

Using prescription antibiotics to help fight infections can regain the lost energy previously assigned to fight the disease.

Asthenia due to depression

The use of antidepressant medications can help recover from fatigue.

Asthenia due to vitamin deficiency

Supplementation of the deficient vitamin often corrects the metabolic abnormality caused. Common vitamin deficiencies that lead to fatigue include vitamin B12 and folate.

Asthenia due to overwork

If overwork of the muscles leads to excessive weakness, a change in lifestyle for treatment may be necessary.

Asthenia due to autoimmune disorders

Medications that prevent the immune system from causing excessive damage can help treat weakness due to this condition. Corticosteroids are one of those medications.

It is essential to visit your local doctor if there is any doubt about the cause of your asthenia.