Hyporeflexia …Is Hyporeflexia an Indicator of Weak Muscles?
The human body works in a perfect systemic way having complete coordination between different organs. The same is true in the human muscular system where a series of processes are involved in performing a movement in response to certain stimuli. Impairment in this system causes hyporeflexia. To develop more understanding, follow this article till the end as this article shares brief information about hyporeflexia.
Description of Hyporeflexia:
Hyporeflexia is a condition characterized by less response of muscles to stimuli. In hyporeflexia, muscles show decreased or absent reflex response. Hyporeflexia indicates the weakness of muscles and causes hurdles to perform daily activities. There are a variety of causes of hyporeflexia. The underlying cause of hyporeflexia required correct diagnosis to treat accordingly.
Causes of Hyporeflexia:
The actual cause of hyporeflexia is damage to motor neurons in the central nervous system. Neurons are responsible to send messages to the rest of the body parts to control muscle movements. Damage to neurons leads to hyporeflexia. This damage may be due to one of the following causes.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that damages the brain and spinal cord cells. ALS causes muscle weakness in the whole body over an extended period.
Hypothyroidism is associated with impaired function of the thyroid gland. Due to hypothyroidism, thyroid glands do not produce enough strength of hormones to maintain the normal physiological functions of the body.
Chronic inflammatory dominating polyneuropathy (CIDP):
CIDP is a long-term condition that is associated with the damage of nerves in the brain. CIDP causes a noticeable loss of muscle reflex. CIDP leads to more worsening situations and symptoms if left untreated.
Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS):
GBS is a degenerative disease that damages the nervous system. GBS alters the body’s physiology so that the body attacks its healthy tissues and causes brain signals impairments to muscles. This condition ultimately leads to hyporeflexia.
Injuries of the spinal cord:
The spinal cord provides the connection between the brain and all the other organs of the body. Even minor injury to the spinal cord disrupts the connection of transferring the message from brain to muscular system wrestling in less or complete loss of muscle activity in response to any external stimuli.
Other causes of hyporeflexia:
Despite the disease that causes neurological damage and ultimately causes hyporeflexia ( as mentioned above), there are few other disorders also that indirectly affect the strength of the muscle or cause impairment in the signals transduction from neurons to the effector muscle site. These unfamiliar causes of hyporeflexia include
- Down’s syndrome
- Opioids intoxication
- Vitamin E deficiency
- Folate deficiency
- Lower motor neuron lesions
- Cental nuclear myopathy
- Bulemia Nervosa
- Becker muscular dystrophy
- Brown-Square syndrome
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Friedreich ataxia
- Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome
Some medications cause hyporeflexia as a side effect, such medications must be properly prescribed with detailed instructions and indications by pharmacists. Medicines such as
- Trans retinoic acid
Symptoms of Hyporeflexia:
Hyporeflexia is marked with the most prominent symptoms of lack of muscle activity or loss of muscle activity. Individual feel difficulty in performing everyday activities like
- Sitting in an upright posture
- Gripping objects
Other symptoms of hyporeflexia may vary according to an underlying cause. Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) often face
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in walking
- Slurred speech
Individuals with hypothyroidism may also experience the following symptoms like
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Changes to body temperature
- Slow heart rate
- Pain in muscles
- Stiffness in muscles and joints
Patients with chronic inflammatory dominating polyneuropathy (CIDP) my presents the symptoms like
- Numbness in legs or arms
- Tingling in arm and legs
- Complete loss of normal muscle reflexes
Patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome may also experience symptoms such as
- Rapid onset numbness
- Paralysis of arms and legs
- Breathing problems
Diagnosis Features of Hyporeflexia:
Hyporeflexia is challenging to diagnose as it is related to a variety of medical conditions. The physician will ask few questions to make a move towards diagnosis. Your doctor may ask
- Can you tell approximately that when you feel the loss of muscular response?
- How long has been happening?
- Medical history and previously used medications
Diagnosis of hyporeflexia also included the following physical examination to check the muscle strengths and response against certain stimuli. The reflex hammer is the most commonly performed test that is the most commonly performed by doctors to test deep tendon reflexes in muscles such as the biceps of muscle. In normal condition, biceps muscles immediately contract with hitting with a hammer. Delay in the contraction of the bicep muscle gives a clue about the existence of hyporeflexia.
Other laboratory examination may include the following test to make an accurate diagnosis of hyporeflexia
- Blood test
- Nerve conduction velocity test
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Muscle biopsies
Hyporeflexia is caused due to neurological damage in the brain and spinal cord. Hyporeflexia is associated with loss of muscular response against stimuli but it may lead to many health complications if being left untreated. Hyporelexia tends to cause the following complications
- Accidents due to impaired muscle response
- Paralysis if the underlying cause of hyporeflexia is ALS and GBS
Treatment of Hyporeflexia :
Treatment of hyporeflexia with medication highly depends on the underlying disease For example if the underlying cause of hyporeflexia is hypothyroidism so it will be treated by hormone replacement therapy. Similarly in the case of CIDP or GBS. steroids will be prescribed by the doctor to reduce inflammation resulting from the body attacking its healthy tissues.
Physical therapy is an effective way to restore muscular function and response towards stimuli. Physical therapy relaxes the muscles, improves blood flow, and helps to maintain better neurological activity. For this purpose, the physical therapist provides his services and guide you about muscle training and routine workout. Physiotherapy helps to reduce muscle weakness by strengthen them and makes an individual capable of moving by himself.
Hyporeflexia is a disorder related to muscular dysfunction and loss or absence of reflexes. There are a variety of causes of hyporeflexia that makes the diagnosis challenging and complicated. The treatment is based upon the underlying causes and hopeful for positive therapeutic outcomes. Your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe you some multivitamins to get over the nutritional deficiencies. Physical therapy may also be suggested to improve muscular response
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A student of Pharm D from University of Karachi. She has keen interest in all the attributes towards pharmacy especially community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy with an objective to make medications sound and safe. She loves to provide information about Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmacology in a best way so people with no medical background can understand.