Hypotonia is a medical condition. Decreased muscle tone and strength characterize it. Hypotonia can affect people of all ages, and a variety of factors can cause including:
- neuromuscular disorders;
- genetic disorders;
- abnormalities of the brain and nervous system;
- metabolic disorders;
- diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
Symptoms of hypotonia can include decreased muscle tone and delayed motor development. Babies with low muscle tone can also experience:
- impaired coordination and balance;
- language and speech difficulties;
- abnormal reflexes;
- abnormal eyes.
Hypotonia diagnosis usually involves a physical examination of medical history. Doctors then perform diagnostic tests such as:
- blood tests;
- genetic testing to determine the underlying cause.
Treatment for the disease depends on the underlying cause. It can include physical therapy, medication, or surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further complications and improve outcomes. So read the following information to know more about this topic.
What is Hypotonia?
Hypotonus is a state of reduced muscle tone. Weakness in the whole muscle system accompanies this disease. We cannot call reduced muscle hypotonus an independent disease. It occurs as a consequence of other serious causes. Doctors distinguish two types of pathology in adults and children with hypotonia:
Genetic disorders cause congenital problems. External factors cause the acquired:
- toxic substances;
- autoimmune reactions.
Hypotonus is also central and peripheral, local and diffuse:
- Central causes cerebral and spinal pathologies.
- Local decreased muscle tone develops in a single group of muscles.
- Diffuse affects the whole system.
Muscle tone is directly related to the work of the motor sphere. Our nervous system controls this. Often the pathological condition of low muscle tone:
- decreased or increased muscle tone;
- changes in motor activity;
- abnormal, “excessive” movements.
A qualified neurologist can give an assessment of the norm and pathology of the motor sphere. This disorder can occur in both children and adults. However, it most often affects newborn children. Read more about the symptoms and diagnosis below.
Symptoms of Hypotonia
One of the most common symptoms of hypotension is low muscle tone. It can lead to soft or “sluggish” muscles. Hypotonia, also known as low muscle tone, is a medical condition. It can manifest itself with a variety of symptoms. Symptoms of hypotonia can vary depending on the underlying cause.
They have a link to different parts of the body. The muscles can feel loose or slack and difficult to contract or maintain in a firm state. It can result in weakness, which is another common symptom of hypotonia.
You can experience weakness throughout the body or localized to specific muscle groups. It can lead to movement and mobility difficulties, including:
- sitting upright.
If you or someone you know feels symptoms of hypotonia, it is vital to seek medical attention. A doctor can determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Read below in more detail about the symptoms of hypotonia below.
1. Muscular Symptoms
Reduced muscle tone, or “lethargy,” is one of the most common symptoms of hypotonia. Hypotension can affect muscles throughout the body. It leads to difficulty with posture, movement, and strength. Infants with hypotension can have difficulty in:
- lifting their head;
- sitting or crawling.
Older children and adults can experience muscle weakness. Fatigue with physical activity is not uncommon.
2. Motor Symptoms
Hypotonia can also affect motor development, particularly in infants and children. Delayed motor development is a common symptom of hypotonia and can affect many steps, such as:
- turning over;
- sitting up;
Poor coordination and balance are also common symptoms of low muscle tone. It makes it difficult to perform activities requiring precise movements:
- playing sports.
3. Speech Symptoms
Speech difficulties are a common symptom of hypotonia and can require speech therapy. Hypotonia can affect the muscles used in speech, resulting in difficulty:
4. Neurological Symptoms
Abnormal reflexes are a common symptom of hypotonia. They can be a sign of underlying neurological problems. They need further examination. These abnormal reflexes can appear as reduced or absent reflexes or hyperactive reflexes.
They often occur without stimulation. Other neurological symptoms of hypotonia can include seizures, developmental delays, and mental retardation.
5. Other Symptoms
Hypotonia can also affect other body parts, including the eyes and digestive system. People with hypotonia can have eye abnormalities such as:
- strabismus (strabismus);
- nystagmus (involuntary eye movement).
Digestive symptoms can include difficulty with swallowing or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Causes of Hypotonia
Hypotonia or low muscle tone, a variety of factors can cause it. They affect muscle tone, strength, and coordination. The underlying cause of hypotension can vary from person to person. So why are there abnormalities in the muscles?
First of all, as a consequence of suffering hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in labor or during pregnancy. If oxygen starvation cells of any organ deplete their reserves they stop working or die. So they don’t have the nutrients and strength to perform their functions.
As a consequence, the child develops various disorders. The most sensitive organ to oxygen deficiency is the central nervous system. Muscle tone almost always determines the dynamics of motor development. And any deviations from the norm can interfere with the natural movement process. For example, a low muscle tone in the arm does not allow the child to:
- roll over onto their back or pick up
- hold a toy in their hand
The impaired tone in the legs does not allow them to get on all fours, crawl or sit up. Read below about all the causes of hypotonia.
1. Neuromuscular Causes
One of the most common causes of hypotension is a problem with the neuromuscular system. It handles coordination between the muscles and the nervous system. Some diseases can cause hypotension by affecting muscles or nerves, such as:
- cerebral palsy;
- muscular dystrophy;
- spinal muscular atrophy.
It results in decreased muscle tone and strength.
2. Genetic Causes
Genetic disorders can also cause hypotension. Because they affect:
- the genes responsible for muscle;
- nervous system development and function.
Examples of genetic disorders that can cause hypotension are:
3. Brain and Nervous System Causes
Brain and nervous system deviations can be a cause of hypotonia. Because they disrupt the connection between the brain and the muscles.
Conditions such as brain malformations and cerebral palsy can cause hypotension. They disrupt the transmission of signals between the brain and muscles. Also, spinal cord injuries can often cause this disorder.
4. Metabolic Causes
Metabolic disorders can cause hypotension. Because they affect the chemical processes that provide energy to the muscle. Examples of metabolic disorders that cause hypotension are:
- Mitochondrial disorders;
- Glycogen storage disorders.
5. Other Causes
Other conditions that can cause hypotonia to include musculoskeletal disorders, such as:
- hip dysplasia.
It can affect the alignment and function of the muscles and bones. Infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can also be one of the causes of hypotonia. It occurs by affecting the brain and nervous system.
Hypotonia examination usually involves a comprehensive physical examination. It includes a physical examination and a review of your medical history. During the physical examination, the doctor will assess the individual’s:
- muscle tone;
- other neurological functions.
They can also test:
- motor development;
- speech skills;
- eye movements.
It is essential to diagnose babies with low muscle tone as early as possible. This is necessary to provide the person with appropriate treatment for hypotonia and support. Early diagnosis can also help to prevent further complications and improve outcomes.
If someone you know is experiencing symptoms of hypotension, you should take care of them. We recommend that you seek immediate medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Remember to choose a specialized neurology clinic for hypotonia diagnosis.
What Tests Diagnose Hypotonia?
It is important to note that specific tests can vary depending on:
- medical history;
- the results of the physical examination.
The following tests can help diagnose:
- Blood Tests. Doctors can do blood tests. It will help check for metabolic abnormalities. They can also investigate other medical conditions that can cause hypotension.
- Imaging Tests. Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans, can assess the brain and nervous system. So they can identify any structural abnormalities or injuries causing hypotonia.
- Electromyography (EMG). An EMG test measures the electrical activity of muscles. So it can help identify neuromuscular conditions that can cause hypotonia.
- Genetic Testing. Neurologists can use genetic testing to identify genetic causes of low muscle tone, such as:
- Down syndrome;
- muscular dystrophy.
5. Neuropsychological Testing. Doctors can use neuropsychological testing to assess many functions:
It helps identify underlying neurological conditions that can cause hypotonia.
Treatment for Hypotonia
Doctors carry out a comprehensive approach with the help of:
- physiotherapy with laser, magnet, or ultrasound;
- alternation of heat and cold;
- mud baths;
- baths with a tonic effect;
- therapeutic exercises;
- exercises with a ball.
You should perform your physical therapy exercises under the supervision of a specialist. Treatment of muscles in children with hypotonia is mandatory. Therapy is based on the results of studies and includes several methods.
Some can be repeated at home with a doctor’s permission, just like bathing. A bath can replace the swimming pool. You can carry out simple activities to promote a speedy recovery. In the future, babies with low muscle tone:
- do modeling activities;
- collect puzzles;
- play finger games.
These activities improve motor skills by coordinating and refining movements. At home, you can:
- pull up the child’s hands;
- bring them together and apart;
- do the bicycle exercise for the legs.
Medication can be used according to the doctor’s prescription and depends on the severity of the pathology. The dosage and duration of the course are determined individually. The doctor can prescribe the following medications for the treatment for hypotonia:
- vascular agents;
- neurometabolic drugs.
During treatment, follow the diet prescribed by the doctor. It includes sufficient micronutrients and vitamins necessary for the body during this period. Adults should also pay attention to therapeutic exercises, electric stimulation to keep tissues from atrophying, and massage.
When You Should See a Doctor
We recommend seeing a doctor if you notice any of the following signs of low muscle tone:
- Delayed motor development. If your child is not reaching developmental milestones, such as sitting up, crawling, or walking, within the expected timeframe, it can be a sign of hypotonia.
- Poor muscle tone. If you or your child lacks muscle tone or appears flabby or loose, it can be a sign of hypotonia.
- Weakness or fatigue. If you or your child has difficulty performing daily activities, such as sitting up, holding objects, or walking, it can be a sign of hypotonia.
- Speech and language difficulties. If you or your child is experiencing difficulties with speech and language, it can be a sign of low muscle tone.
- Abnormal reflexes. If you or your child has abnormal reflexes, such as hyperreflexia or hyporeflexia.
A Word from Our Lone Star Neurology Doctors
After studying the problem of low muscle tone in detail, we understand how important it is to treat it. To do this, we need to choose a good specialist.
- What are the signs of low muscle tone in babies?
A baby’s body sags without trying to act, the belly protrudes forward, the back is rounded, and the head tilts back involuntarily.
- What is poor muscle tone?
Muscle hypotonia is a condition of reduced muscle tone (the degree of muscle tension or resistance to movement), often combined with reduced muscle strength (paresis).
- Can you be strong with hypotonia?
Yes, a person with hypotension can be strong, but it depends on many factors. Hypotension means low muscle tone. It can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, and poor movement coordination. However, if a person with hypotension exercises regularly to strengthen their muscles, they can become strong and improve their muscle tone.
- Can a child outgrow hypotonia?
Many children with hypotension can overcome symptoms and develop normally or close to normal. Many factors can affect how a child overcomes hypotension. One of the most important factors is early diagnosis and initiation of treatment.