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ICD-10 R53
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ICD-9 780.7
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Asthenia is a medical term denoting a feeling of weakness without actual loss of strength often associated with listlessness and tendency to fatigue. It is commonly used with reference to physical weakness due to muscular or brain disorders. But it is also applied in the context of personality and emotion research where it implies general debilitation, depressed mood and inhibition.

Causes of asthenia

The condition is commonly seen in patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorders or chronic disorders of the heart, lungs or kidneys. Differentiating between asthenia and true |muscular weakness is often difficult, and in time asthenia in chronic disorders is seen to progress into a primary weakness. Also a condition in which the body lacks or has lost strength either as a whole or in any of its parts. General asthenia occurs in many chronic wasting diseases, such as anemia and cancer, and is probably most marked in diseases of the adrenal gland. Asthenia may be limited to certain organs or systems of organs, as in asthenopia, characterized by ready fatiguability.

Common causes of asthenia

See also


  • Adapted from: Hinshaw DB, Carnahan JM, Johnson DL. Depression, anxiety, and asthenia in advanced illness. J Am Coll Surg 2002;195:276.

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