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Dr. SH
Dr. SH, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8808
Experience:  Doctor of Medicine
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past 3 years i have suffered periodic muscle weakness

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for the past 3 years i have suffered periodic muscle weakness that lasts from 5 minutes to 5 days, it affects both arms and both legs equally and there is no pain, it varies in severity and goes from being able to get about by sliding my feet along the ground to not being able to move my legs or raise my arms at all. i have had mri on head and spine and emg, all of which were normal, i am not suffering stress and have seen a psychiatrist who said it was not mental, the longest i have been symptom free is about 5 months but mostly i get symptoms every week, my hands become puffy or swollen when it comes on, help please
Hi there.
Thank you for your question.
I will be helping you out with your queries.
Have you had any blood tests?
What is your potassium level during the episodes of weakness?
Have you had your thyroid hormones tested?
Are you allergic to anything?
Do you have any other medical problems?
Are you on any medications for anything currently?
Please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have had various blood tests throughout the 3 years, I do not know if they tested my potassium during an attack, they have tested my thyroid but don't know if both t3 and t4, I am not allergic to anything I know of, I have no other medical problems and have been surprisingly healthy apart from this. I have not taken any medication during the last 3 years

One of the causes of such weakness is what we call as 'hypokalemic periodic paralysis'. It is a condition where, when the potassium in the blood is low the patient experiences muscle weakness.
Another condition similar to this is called as 'hyperkalemic periodic paralysis'. This happens in some people during episodes when the blood potassium is high and the patient experiences weakness of the muscles.
So we need to know what your potassium levels were during the episodes. Were they absolutely normal, at the upper end of normal or at the lower end of normal and so forth.
The main thing to look at when testing thyroid function is the TSH level (thyroid stimulating hormone level) T3 and T4 can at times be inaccurate.
If thyroid hormones are high (which would mean a low level of TSH) a condition called as thyrotoxic periodic paralysis can happen.
So all these conditions should be considered and ruled out.
The swelling in the legs made me think about allergies (angioedema) which is something that is pretty common and swelling in any part of the body can happen with allergies. You may not be aware of having allergy to anything but still have it.
Over-the-counter antiallergic medications like loratadine or benadryl can help with your symptoms if it is due to allergy or angioedema.
But considering that you are healthy other than these episodes, I would not worry too much.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do not get swelling in my legs, only in my hands, and they just become puffy really, when you say I am healthy other than these episodes you would not worry but I am on the verge of loosing my job because I have had so much time of and the severity of the paralysis has gotten worse over time

Puffy hands could also happen in angioedema.
Also, if you have not had an MRI of the brain and spinal cord, I would like that should be done because sometimes MS (multiple sclerosis) can present this way and I would like to definitively rule that out particularly since you mention that the 'severity of paralysis has gotten worse over time'.
I would appreciate it if you rate me by clicking on one of the smilies as that is the only way I am credited here for helping you out.
Kind regards
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